MESCALERO, New Mexico -- Billions of dollars are spent every year on sports betting. Historically, a big part of that money has been gambled illegally through the use of a bookie. With the Super Bowl only days away, there's a good chance that millions more will be wagered. The difference now is that in the state of New Mexico, gamblers can place their bets legally at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Sports Book.
The Inn of the Mountain Gods is the third casino in the land of enchantment to open a sports book, following in the steps of Santa Ana Star casino, and Buffalo Thunder. All three provide a space for sports fans to place bets without needed additional state level approval.
"Luckily in the state of New Mexico our compact with the state allows for all class three gaming which it was already approved within our contract," said Frizzell Frizzell Jr., the chief operating officer for the Inn of the Mountain Gods.
While Buffalo Thunder and Santa Ana Star both have sports books, the Inn of the Mountain Gods is the only casino in southern New Mexico, leaving them with a geographical advantage.
"We've had players from the south of Texas, from south east Texas, from El Paso and Albuquerque mainly because we are powered by William Hill," said Monica Pino, the inn's director of casino operations.
The Inn of the Mountain Gods Sports Book is backed up by William Hill, which operates the betting lines from Las Vegas, Nevada. This is not the first time the London-based company has teamed up with the Mescalero tribe.
"We've had a relationship with them for the last seven years they operate the casino there for the Mescalero so it just made sense while they were looking for a sports betting partner for them to approach us and we really have a great relationship," according to David Grolman, the president of retail operations for William Hill.
The Inn of the Mountain Gods Sports Book, offers all the typical betting scenarios a gamble should expect. They offer the Money Line, where a gambler picks the winner of a game. There is also the Over/Under, where gamblers will have to pick whether the combined number of points both teams score will be higher or lower than what Las Vegas predicts. Gamblers could also place a bet on the spread of a game. In this scenario, a handicapped number is given to the under dog of the game. Team A in this scenario is considered worse than team B, however Las Vegas is giving team A five free points, so as long as they don't lose by six or more, the bettor wins. Lastly, bettors can bet on the parlay, which offers the highest risk and reward of all three. A bettor will tie in a group of bets with the hopes of earning a higher payout, however if one of the bets in the group loses - then the gambler is out of luck.
Sports bets in the state of New Mexico payout as they would in Las Vegas, which is why on a straight bet a gambler will typically have to wager $110 dollars, to make $100 back. Sports betting in the state of New Mexico appears to be paying off for the state and for the tribe. In the third quarter of 2019 when sports betting started at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, the total net winnings reported to the New Mexico Gaming commission was more than $21 million. Contrast that figure with the $19.4 million reported in the third quarter of 2018.