A No-No in New Mexico

16 September 1999
A growing ensemble of state attorneys general in the United States is convinced that Internet gambling is illegal, and its members are threatening action against those who defy them. The latest A.G. to join the club is New Mexico's Patricia Madrid.

Assistant Attorney General Chris Coppin proclaimed to the state Gaming Control Board Friday that Internet gambling illegal in New Mexico under several state laws. Coppin asked the board to consider legal action against online gambling sites.

"We want the board to authorize us to seek injunctive relief against any website that offers gambling in New Mexico," Coppin said.

Unlike previous action taken by attorneys general, Madrid is only going after companies that operate within her state's jurisdiction. The AP reports that Madrid plans to target four or five gambling companies operating in New Mexico. She also said she doesn't plan to target individual New Mexico residents who gamble online.

The original focus of Madrid's stance is a new online raffle site to be launched by a private company called OCR Associates. The site has voluntarily shut down.

No additional companies based in New Mexico were named.

A recent survey commissioned by the New Mexico Lottery found that 20 percent of the money spent on gambling in New Mexico is spent on spent on Internet gambling services ($180 million out of $886 million). To date, there's no way for the state government to get its hands on a cent of that $180 million.