There was finally some good news and a glimmer of hope on the horizon for sports fans in New Mexico with a recent announcement on the return of intercollegiate athletics.
After the professional, college and high school sports schedules were wiped out by the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting lockdowns, Michelle Lujan Grisham from the office of New Mexico Government made a long-awaited announcement on February 2.
Teams must follow strict guidelines
The rule-makers amended the coronavirus guidelines to allow sports to return to the state causing a flurry of excitement. Teams, players, officials and even the leading online sportsbook betting sites are now in a rush to prepare for the big kick-off.
Players can resume their training regimes and practice; the fixture schedule can be rearranged, and betting sites will start promoting their markets once again. There will be strict guidelines in place throughout sport with players to adhere to social distancing rules when possible, to train in smaller groups than they have been used to in the past and to test for COVID-19 when required.
Sport in New Mexico remains a long way off a return to what was once considered normal, but this announcement signals a step in the right direction and will be welcomed by clubs who have been forced into hibernation. The focus is now on the various teams and players to prove they can follow the rules and allow government officials to further relax coronavirus measures.
Pro teams forced to relocate
Non-professional athletes can follow the lead of New Mexico’s professional teams who have been made to take drastic measures to save their season. The New Mexico football squad packed their bags and moved to Las Vegas for a brief time to fulfil their fixtures, avoiding the strict rules imposed on sport in their home state.
The stars of New Mexico basketball were also forced on the road with both the men’s and ladies’ teams setting up a training camp in Arizona and playing their scheduled home games there. Relocating allowed The Aggies to complete three of their games, something they would have been unable to do if remaining in New Mexico. Fans haven’t seen them in action so far this year, however, due to a string of postponed and cancelled games relating to coronavirus.
It will now be interesting to see if the top professional teams and players return home to their New Mexico bases and continue their season when it is deemed safe to do so. Announcements are expected on that in the coming days. If football and basketball do return to the state any fixtures will likely be played without supporters in attendance.
Changes to online betting laws
There was another major announcement made this week that will shape the future of sports in New Mexico and it was one that will be remembered for generations to come. Phelps Anderson and Ray Lara, representatives for the state, introduced a bill to legalise sports betting.
New Mexico now joins the growing number of states in America to change the rules and allow online gambling on sports. Residents can now register for an online betting account at a legal sportsbook app and place wagers on the outcome of their favourite sporting events, including NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, UFC, and MLS.
As well as the many different sports to bet on there will also be a long list of exciting markets available, both pre-match and in-game. Location settings on mobile devices will be used to confirm players are within state lines when attempting to bet. Those applying for an online betting account must also prove their age by submitting a photographic ID.
Undergraduates to benefit
Betting can be done from the comfort of your own home using a personal computer or when on the move through a user-friendly and responsive mobile app. The leading names in online betting have arrived in New Mexico and are ready to bid for your custom.
Named the New Mexico Lottery Educational Assistance Act, it plans to use some of the proceeds from online gambling on sports and gaming to boost tuition assistance to the various undergraduates in New Mexico’s educational institutions.