By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
Do you think the New Mexico Lobos have a chance to shock Notre Dame next month in football?
Now, you can book it!
As in bet it — locally.
Winning such a wager? Well, that’s quite another thing.
But that’s why there are point spreads.
And yes, you indeed can now bet the Lobos locally in that game at South Bend, Ind., as well as all other UNM and New Mexico State football and basketball games with a betting line. On Monday, Isleta Resort & Casino opened its sportsbook, and it’s allowing wagers on the Lobos and Aggies.
“I believe we’re the only sportsbook in the state that lets you bet on New Mexico and New Mexico State,” Harold Baugus, CEO of the resort, told Enchantment Sports. “At other sportsbooks, you haven’t been able to do that.”
“We wanted to have the full complement of all types of sports betting. Albuquerque is a big market, and we wanted to provide all the games to all our guests.”
Santa Ana Star Casino has not allowed betting on Lobo and Aggie games. It opened last fall.
Baugus said the resort also attracts many guests from outside of Albuquerque, like “El Paso, Amarillo and Southern Colorado who don’t have access to sports betting” and have interest in betting on or against the New Mexico schools.
Isleta’s sportsbook is in a temporary location next to the center bar in the casino. Baugus said the book will be moved to a multi-purpose facility, which is under construction. The facility is scheduled to open in mid-November.
Isleta is located just off of I-25 just south of Albuquerque.
Santa Ana Star Casino offers the only other sportsbook in the Albuquerque metro area. It opened but has not allowed betting on the Lobos or Aggies.
The move follows a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which opened the door for tribes to legalize wagers on everything from college basketball to professional football. It’s a victory for those pushing for more gaming options, and Isleta Resort & Casino is thrilled to be an industry leader.
The Supreme Court’s decision allowed New Mexico to bring sports betting to the state.
Isleta is using the same provider, USBookmaking, as Santa Ana.
Earlier this year, Vic Salerno, the president of USBookmaking, said, “We are proud to be selected by Isleta Resort & Casino to provide sports betting services for their casino. We offer outstanding service for our clients, and our selection by Isleta validates the tremendous value that USBookmaking contributes.”
Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for more than four decades, and is one of the most decorated sports journalists in state history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.