Why Wyoming Is Blazing Trails in Sports Betting

State Flag of Wyoming on Right with Sports Betting Card and Money on Left

Wyoming is one of the many states that have legalized sports betting over the last several years. It now offers a fully regulated betting market.

On the surface, Wyoming doesn’t appear much different than other states with legal sports gambling. It features the same major online sportsbook brands as other markets.

A closer look at the Cowboy State, though, reveals that it’s quite unique regarding sports wagering. In fact, Wyoming is blazing trails in the betting world. You can read about the different ways that this state differs from others in the following post.

The Cowboy State Only Features Online Sports Betting

Many states with regulated sports gambling have approved both retail and online sportsbooks. Retail betting refers to land-based operators that accept bets in person.

The Equality State, however, has only legalized online sports betting. Therefore, it solely licenses internet/mobile bookmakers.

When looking across America, many sports gamblers prefer the convenience of online wagering. Nevertheless, most other markets have also complemented their online betting with retail locations.

Wyoming Allows 18-Year-Olds to Make Sports Bets

The legal gambling age in the US says that 18-year-olds can typically engage in certain types of gambling across the US. Bingo, charity gaming, and lotteries are commonly available to those aged 18 and above.

Sports betting, in contrast, is usually only legal for those aged 21 and above. The majority of states make the sports wagering age the same as drinking.

Wyoming, however, differs greatly in this regard. It’s currently the only state to allow 18-year-olds to legally place bets.

First State to Approve Bitcoin Sports Betting Deposits

Regulated online sportsbooks throughout the US accept a variety of deposit options. They commonly take major credit cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards, bank transfers, and even in-person deposits.

Regulated bookmakers aren’t so keen, though, on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. For whatever reason, they don’t approve of crypto transactions.

Bitcoin Logo on Gold Coins

Much like how it’s the only state allowing 18-year-olds to wager, Wyoming is also the only one that has approved cryptocurrencies.

No WY betting sites have taken advantage of this opportunity at the time of this post. However, one or more of them might begin accepting Bitcoin and/or another crypto later.

WY Allows Esports Betting

Sports gambling hasn’t gained full acceptance throughout America. While some states, such as New Jersey, allow esports betting, others have yet to approve it.

The reason why many lawmakers avoid this issue is that esports feature some professionals who are younger than 18.

No state is thrilled about allowing betting on contests involving minors. In fact, none have approved high school sports betting and none are likely to ever do so.

Esports betting isn’t quite the same, however, because most of the pros are adults. Wyoming and a handful of other states recognize this, which is why they permit esports betting.

Contrasts between Wyoming and Other States

Based on the points above, you can see why the Cowboy State is so unique regarding sports betting. Now, I’ll expand upon the reasons why its betting market varies so much compared to other states

No Retail Sportsbooks

Land-based sportsbooks have been a staple in many states’ plans for sports gambling. Over two dozen states now feature retail betting locations just like Las Vegas.

Wyoming followed Tennessee, though, in becoming just the second state to only legalize online betting. Mobile operators are the only ones that can obtain licensing in the Cowboy State.

Las Vegas Strip Night View, People Gathered at Sportbooks

Of course, this move makes sense for Wyoming when considering its vast territory and sparse population. Wyoming has America’s smallest population at 580,000 people. This figure feels even smaller when considering that the state spans over 97,900 square miles.

No city or region of Wyoming could adequately support a land-based sportsbook. Therefore, lawmakers didn’t feel the need to regulate them.

Youngest Sports Bettors

Retail sportsbooks are normally allowed to serve alcohol wherever they’re located. Of course, they can only permit those aged 21+ to drink.

Therefore, they don’t mind when the minimum betting age is also 21. This way, bookmakers don’t have to risk serving those who are underage.

By only allowing mobile sportsbooks, Wyoming doesn’t need to worry about this problem. It can let 18-year-olds bet and not risk serving them alcohol.

Crypto Friendly

Cryptocurrencies haven’t appealed to other sports betting markets so far. Most lawmakers and licensing authorities only approve traditional banking options.

In yet another move that sets it apart from the rest, Wyoming approved crypto deposits and withdrawals. Betting sites can accept cryptocurrencies as payment if they so choose.

As mentioned before, no mobile operators have taken the state up on this opportunity yet. It seems very likely, though, that at least one WY sportsbook will take Bitcoin.

One of Few States with Esports Betting

Some states have a problem with the young pros in esports. They don’t want their residents and visitors gambling on participants who are minors.

However, a few states have looked past the small percentage of professionals who are under 18. Wyoming is among this minority.

That said, you can wager on many esports competitions in the Equality State. This is exciting considering that esports comprise one of the fastest-growing segments of betting.

Will Other States Copy Wyoming’s Unique Betting Policies?

Over half of the US has legalized sports gambling. However, many states still have yet to decide on the matter. Some haven’t even gotten to the legislation process.

California, for example, isn’t close to regulating sports wagering yet. With a $3.2 trillion economy, it’s the most lucrative potential market in the country.

Circa Sportsbook

That said, much has still yet to be decided with betting regulation. When and if these states do regulate betting, it’ll be interesting to see if any of them follow Wyoming’s path.

The Cowboy State has proven a trailblazer in multiple areas. Here are the ways that it stands out from most markets.

  • First state to allow 18-year-olds to bet.
  • First state to permit cryptocurrency betting deposits and cashouts.
  • Second state to legalize online betting only.
  • One of only a few states to allow esports.

I don’t envision many, if any, other states permitting 18-year-olds to play sports wagers. The majority will allow retail sportsbooks, which typically serve alcohol. Bookmakers in these states won’t want to deal with the hassle of potential underage drinking.

Some jurisdictions will likely consider allowing bettors to deposit with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. After all, crypto is becoming more and more popular by the day.

Sports betting could also become more prominent. States that have a problem with young pros can always impose special rules. New Jersey, for instance, only allows betting on esports contests where all match participants are aged 18+.

How Do You Legally Bet in Wyoming?

The Equality State regulates sports betting. Therefore, you’ll need to find a licensed online sportsbook to place legal wagers.

Wyoming currently offers a few licensed betting sites at the time of this writing. You shouldn’t have difficulty finding one of these sites.

The next step involves completing registration. During the signup process, you’ll need to supply your age and social security number. Provided you’re at least 18 years old, then you’ll be good to bet at any WY sportsbook.

You can sign up for WY sportsbooks from any other state. However, you must be within Wyoming’s boundaries to make a deposit.

Each betting site uses geolocation software to ensure that you’re actually within the Equality State. Provided geolocation determines that you’re somewhere within Wyoming, then you’ll be able to deposit.

You don’t have to actually live within the Cowboy State to bet either. Instead, you can legally place wagers as a visitor too.

In Summary

Most states that have legalized sports betting are following the same road. They only let 21-year-olds bet, don’t allow crypto deposits, and offer both online and retail sports betting.

Wyoming is different from the average state in all of these categories. In fact, it’s the only American market that’s allowing 18-year-old bettors and Bitcoin deposits.

That said, the Cowboy State has truly proven unique in the American betting landscape. Assuming everything works out for Wyoming, then other states may adopt some of their rules.