Isleta Casino Will Accept Bets on New Mexico Universities Starting This Football Season

Posted on: August 15, 2019, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: August 16, 2019, 01:08h.

The Isleta Resort & Casino in Albuquerque will allow bettors to wager on the University of New Mexico Lobos and the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Aggies when college football season kicks off in a couple of weeks.

New Mexico football coach Bob Davie. The Isleta Casino in Albuquerque will take bets on his team this year. (Image: SI.com)

Earlier this week, Isleta, which is owned by the Pueblo of Isleta, opened a temporary sportsbook. A permanent sportsbook for the venue is currently under construction. USBookmaking manages the casino’s new sports betting operation.

There is a huge Lobo and Aggie following in this market,” said Isleta Casino CEO Harold Baugus in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal.“We feel there is enough training and measures in place (that taking bets on UNM and NMSU games won’t be a problem).”

A 2015 gaming agreement between New Mexio’s Indian tribes and the state set the stage for sports wagering to be allowed there. The state’s first sportsbook was opened at the Santa Ana Star Casino in Santa Ana Pueblo. But other gaming properties there have been adding sports betting offerings at a rapid pace this year. Santa Ana Star doesn’t accept bets on UNM or NMSU games.

Why It’s Relevant

It may not seem like big news that Isleta Casino will take bets on the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Division I basketball programs located in New Mexico. But some states that have signed-off on sports wagering are taking harder lines on betting on college athletics.

For example, Oregon’s upcoming sports betting app won’t feature the option to bet on any college football or basketball games. In New York, bettors can’t put action on any of the Empire State’s college teams, such as Syracuse University, or any college game being played in the state. Other states prohibit prop bets on college games.

New Mexico casinos taking bets on the Aggies and the Lobos is important, because those are the state’s only FBS teams and the Land of Enchantment has no professional sports clubs.

Additionally, sports betting is launching amid declining gaming revenue for the state. The two dozen tribal casinos in New Mexico generated $62.8 million in receipts for the state last year, down from almost $70 million in 2012.

Aggie Angles, Lobo Looks

The UNM Lobos are members of the Mountain West Conference, and start their football season on Aug. 31 against Sam Houston State. In 2018, the team finished 3-9 and last in the conference’s Mountain Division. Athlon Sports predicts the Lobos will again finish in the Mountain Division cellar this year. The Lobos’ marquee non-conference game is a September 14 clash at Notre Dame, for which the projected chance of winning for UNM is just 1.4 percent.

NMSU is an independent and doesn’t play in a conference. The Aggies’ schedule early season slate is daunting, starting with Washington State on Aug. 31, followed by Alabama the next week. The probabilities of NMSU winning those games are 2.6 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Projected win totals for the Lobos and Aggies this year are 4.4 and 3.5, according to ESPN data.