Business & Real Estate

New Mexico casino allows bets on in-state university teams

A New Mexico casino has made the decision to accept bets on collegiate football and basketball games involving in-state teams, a report said.

Isleta Resort & Casino will accept wagers on the University of New Mexico Lobos and New Mexico State University Aggies beginning this upcoming season, the Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday.

"There is a huge Lobo and Aggie following in this market," Isleta Resort & Casino CEO Harold Baugus said. "We feel there is enough training and measures in place that taking bets on UNM and NMSU games won't be a problem."

The decision means bettors can gamble on whether the two New Mexico teams will win or lose when they compete against another Football Bowl Subdivision level opponent, casino officials said.

The NCAA lists sports gambling as a serious violation, and university officials are concerned with how this decision will affect both the UNM and NMSU athletic programs.

"We already communicate with our donors and student-athletes all the time about the NCAA rules and regulations regarding sports betting and will continue to do so," UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez said. "But now, the fact is we're going to have to do more."

Compliance offices across the country are put in place to educate those in and around the athletic departments, including the need to make sure nobody will intentionally throw a game, officials said.

Gambling on sports has been legal in New Mexico for two years, but Isleta would be the first casino to accept bets on in-state collegiate sports year-round, officials said.

Santa Ana Star Casino was the state's first casino to offer sports gambling, but it prohibited people from betting on UNM and NMSU athletic events.

Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino only accepted bets on in-state college basketball games, but only during conference tournaments in March.

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