Another sports betting state? Salerno’s USBookmaking strikes deal in New Mexico Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · October 8, 2018 at 11:24 pm Las Vegas-based USBookmaking announced Monday it will launch a sports book at the Santa Ana Star casino in New Mexico next week, under an agreement with the tribal casino’s operator, which is governed by a state compact. New Mexico would become the fifth state and the first west of the Mississippi River, to launch a legal sports gambling operation since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May that allowed states to regulate sports betting. However, New Mexico lawmakers have not considered or approved any sports betting regulations. Vic Salerno, the president of USBookmaking said in an interview Monday the compact the Tamaya Nation at the Pueblo of Santa Ana has with the state allows for sports betting. Also, he said legal opinions have said tribes can operate sport gaming as because tribal land is considered “a sovereign nation.” “It says it right in the compact. We asked four different attorneys and they all agreed with me,” Salerno said. “We think this is a tremendous opportunity.” New Mexico has 15 Indian casinos which produced $861.6 million in gaming revenue in 2016, according to the recently-released Indian Gaming Industry Report from Casino City. In a statement, USBookmaking said the Santa Ana Star, which is located 10 miles north of Albuquerque – New Mexico’s largest city – is one of the top three New Mexico casinos in terms of annual revenue. Salerno compared the property’s size and scope to “Green Valley Ranch,” one of the Las Vegas Valley’s larger locals casinos, which is owned by Station Casinos. “We have a spot in the center of the casino,” Salerno said. “It’s a great opportunity.” However, despite Salerno’s insistence, it’s unclear if the sports book is still legal under New Mexico law. A spokesman for the New Mexico Attorney General’s office told SportsHandle.com he was unaware of the plans to begin sports wagering in the state. He would have a statement regarding the attorney general’s view of the legality of the move by Tuesday morning, noting the office was closed for the Columbus Day Holiday. Salerno, one of Las Vegas’ longtime bookmakers, established USBookmaking as a way to offer daily fantasy sports under Nevada sports betting regulations. The company operates the sportsbook for Baldini’s Casino near Reno. Since the Supreme Court ruling, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia have launched regulated sports betting at casinos and racetracks. Salerno said he has been seeking opportunities to operate sports betting in U.S. markets. “We have found that there is tremendous demand for a Nevada-style retail sports book operation in a multitude of casinos throughout the U.S.,” Salerno said. “We specialize in the ability to get to market quickly and operate efficiently. We have carved out a unique position where we are a very attractive service provider to the many independent casino operations that exist today.” Under the Leroy’s brand, Salerno and his team operated 125 sports books in Nevada. The company was sold to William Hill US in 2012. Salerno was a 2015 inductee into the Gaming Hall of Fame. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.