A Guide to Gambling / Gaming Activities in New Mexico

This guide was first developed by the NM Alcohol and Gaming Division as “A Guide to Conducting Fundraising Activities in New Mexico”.  This updated version is prepared by the NM Gaming Control Board.  Revised August, 2009.


Unless specifically permitted by law, gambling is prohibited in New Mexico pursuant to §60-2E-4 of the Gaming Control Act and the New Mexico Criminal Code, 30-19-1 thru 30-19-15 NMSA 1978. Examples of gambling specifically permitted by law include activities conducted under the a) Gaming Control Act, 60-2E-1 thru 60-2E-62 NMSA 1978, 15.1.1 thru 15.1.26 NMAC, b) the Horse Racing Act, 60-1A-1 thru 60-1A-30 NMSA 1978, 15.2.1 thru 15.2.7 NMAC, c) the State Lottery Act, 6-24-1 thru 6-24-34 NMSA 1978, and d) the Bingo and Raffle Act, 60-2F-1 thru 60-2F-26 NMSA, 15.4.1 thru 15.4.9 NMAC. Properly qualified organizations may conduct certain games of chance in New Mexico for fundraising purposes on a limited basis. Following describes qualifying factors, organizational responsibilities, and the limitations on gaming imposed by New Mexico law.

Important Definitions

  • Bingo – is a game of chance in which prizes are awarded on the basis of designated numbers or symbols on a card conforming to numbers or symbols selected at random.
  • Game – under the Gaming Control Act is an activity where you pay to play a game or on a slot machine, the outcome of which is based on chance and possibly some skill, to receive a prize or something of value.
  • Lottery – is a game of chance in which, for consideration, the player has an opportunity to win a prize, the award of which is determined by chance, even if some skill is required.
  • Pull Tabs – printed tickets that have a pull-tab or seal to be opened by the purchaser where a winning combination is printed on each ticket or on a separate card.
  • Raffle – is a game of chance conducted by drawing for prizes by chance or by selling tickets or rights to participate in such a drawing.
  • Sweepstakes – used to promote legitimate business objectives. Entry obtained with purchase but must also provide a no purchase necessary alternative method of entry.

Organizations that May Obtain a License to Conduct Regularly Scheduled Games of Chance

The Bingo and Raffle Act identifies certain “qualified” or “charitable” organizations that may obtain licensure from the NM Gaming Control Board to conduct regularly scheduled bingo games and/or to sell pull tabs and raffle tickets in the state.  Monies raised by these means shall go to a “lawful purpose”. In the 2009 legislative session the old act was repealed, redone and renumbered, it is now 60-2F-1 thru 60-2F-26 NMSA.

  • 60-2F-4(P) “lawful purposes” means:
  1. educational, charitable, patriotic, religious or public-spirited purposes that benefit an indefinite number of persons either by bringing their minds or hearts under the influence of education or religion, by relieving their bodies from disease, suffering or constraint, by assisting them in establishing themselves in life, by erecting or maintaining public buildings or works, by providing legal assistance to peace officers or firefighters in defending civil or criminal actions arising out of the performance of their duties or by otherwise lessening the burden of government. “Lawful purposes” includes the erection, acquisition, improvement, maintenance, insurance or repair of property, real, personal or mixed, if the property is used for one or more of the benefits stated in this paragraph; or
  2. augmenting the revenue of and promoting the New Mexico state fair;
  • 60-2F-4(F) NMSA “charitable organization” means an organization, not for pecuniary profit, that is operated for the relief of poverty, distress or other condition of public concern in New Mexico and that has been granted an exemption from federal income tax as an organization described in Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended or renumbered;
  • 60-2F-4(Y)NMSA “qualified organization” means a bona fide chartered branch, lodge or chapter of a national or state organization or any bona fide religious, charitable, environmental, fraternal, educational or veterans’ organization operating without profit to its members that has been in existence in New Mexico continuously for a period of two years immediately prior to conducting a raffle or making an application for a license under the New Mexico Bingo and Raffle Act and that has had a membership engaged in carrying out the objects of the corporation or organization. A voluntary firefighter’s organization is a qualified organization and a labor organization is a qualified organization for the purposes of the New Mexico Bingo and Raffle Act if they use the proceeds from a game of chance solely for scholarship or charitable purposes.

The following are defined in §60-2F-4 NMSA;

(G)  chartered branch, lodge or a chapter of a national or state organization
(AA)  religious organization;
(J)  environmental organization;
(L)  fraternal organization;
(I)  educational organization;
(BB)  veteran’s organization.

Except for charitable organizations, the Act does not require that the organization seeking licensure have obtained an exemption from federal income tax under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. Therefore, in determining whether any other applicant is a qualified organization, the NMGCB may accept other satisfactory proof of non-profit status, such as a copy of the organization’s Articles of Incorporation filed with the Public Regulation Commission under the state’s Nonprofit Corporation Act, chapter 53, Article 8, NMSA 1978.

Effective July 1, 2009, 60-2F-26(B) “Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection A of this section, no raffle with an individual prize exceeding seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) shall be held without a ten-day prior notification to the board of the conduct of the event and a subsequent notification to the board of the names, addresses and phone numbers of all prize winners.”

60-2F-18(B) “For a raffle:

  1. all raffle tickets shall be represented in the container from which the winner is drawn;
  2. the drawing shall be open to the public;
  3. each raffle ticket shall display all information as directed by the board; and
  4. when any merchandise prize is awarded in a raffle, its value shall be its current retail price. No merchandise prize shall be redeemable or convertible into cash.”

Pull tabs can be sold by qualified organization pursuant to the rules set out in NMAC.

Organizations that May Conduct Certain Games of Chance Under Limited Circumstances Without Obtaining a License

  1. Limited exemptions under the Bingo and Raffle Act.

Any bingo or raffle held by a qualified organization as defined in §60-2F-4(Y) NMSA1978, of the Bingo and Raffle Act which holds a bingo or raffle no more than once in any three consecutive calendar months and not exceeding four occasions in one calendar year.  §60-2F-26(B) NMSA 1978.

  1. Limited exceptions under the Criminal Code.

“Nothing in Chapter 30, Article 19 NMSA 1978 shall be held to prohibit any bona fide motion picture theater from offering prizes of cash or merchandise for advertising purposes, in connection with such business or for the purpose of stimulating business, whether or not any consideration other than a monetary consideration in excess of the regular price of admission is exacted for participation in drawings for prizes.  §30-19-6(A) NMSA 1978.”

“Nothing in Chapter 30, Article 19 NMSA 1978 shall be construed to apply to any activity: (1) regulated by the New Mexico Bingo and Raffle Act; or (2) specifically exempted from regulation by the provisions of the New Mexico Bingo and Raffle Act.”  §30-19-6(B) NMSA 1978.

“Nothing in this chapter or in the New Mexico Bingo and Raffle Act prohibits a senior citizen group from organizing and conducting bingo at a senior citizen center, provided that no person other than players participating in the bingo game receive or become entitled to receive any part of the proceeds, either directly or indirectly, from the bingo game and no minor is allowed to participate in the organization or conduct of games or play bingo. As used in this section, “senior citizen group” means an organization in which the majority of the membership consists of persons who are at least fifty-five years of age and the primary activities and purposes of which are to provide recreational or social activities for those persons.  §30-19-7.2 NMSA 1978.




This document is NOT a comprehensive statement of all the laws applicable to fundraising or gambling in New Mexico. This is NOT intended to provide any legal advice to any person or organization. The NM Gaming Control Board strongly urges any person or organization to consult an attorney regarding the possible consequences, effects, criminal and otherwise, of conducting various games of chance. Additionally, organizations conducting fundraising activities have specific tax reporting obligations. More detailed information about these obligations can be obtained from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, Tax information and Policy Office, at 827-0700, and the Internal Revenue Service, at 1-800-829-1040. Organizations conducting fundraising activities may have certain registration and reporting obligations. Contact the Public Regulation Commission, Corporations Bureau at 827-4500, and the (57-22-5 NMSA) Attorney General’s Office, Registry of Charitable Organizations, at 827-6000, for more information.