Wyoming Sports Betting Bill Gets Legislature Approval

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone
A bill that would legalize Wyoming sports betting has been approved by the state Legislature and will now head to the office of Gov. Mark Gordon for final consideration.

House Bill no.133 directs the Wyoming Gaming Commission to regulate legal sports betting. After barely making out of the House earlier this month on a 32-28 vote, it gained the final approval from the Wyoming legislature via 24-5 vote. Under the approval, the Commission has until September 1st to promulgate the rules and regulations covering the industry.

Per Sen. Jeff Wasserburger, co-sponsor of the bill:

“(The bill) tries to stop the black market that is taking place now, put consumer protections into the bill, and then allow people in Wyoming … to place bets. Then it has a 10% tax on that bet.”

Protecting Customers

Proponents of the bill argue that since sports betting is already happening in Wyoming via unregulated online websites and betting apps, state officials might as well provide oversight over the industry to protect customers. The proposal also outlines the fees for operators who wish to engage in legal Wyoming sports betting activities, including a 10% tax revenue from online sports bets made.

Although the Legislative Service Office said that it was tricky to estimate how much the 10% remittance of gaming revenue could bring to the state, the Wyoming Gaming Commission estimates that the industry could be worth more than $449M in total sports bets per year which would mean some $500,000 in tax revenues for the state.

Narrowly Advancing in the House

After it was initially defeated, the HB 133 narrowly advanced in the House on a reconsideration vote. House lawmakers had a lengthy debate on the proposal, with opponents raising concerns about gambling addiction that might accompany the legalization of sports betting. The legislation would direct $300,000 of state tax revenue generated from legal Wyoming sports betting to the Department of Health to provide resources for the treatment of gambling addiction.

With the bill clearing the House and Senate, it will now head to the desk of Gov. Gordon. Gordon will have three days to either sign the bill into law or return it to the legislature with his veto or it will pass into a bill without his signature. The Republican governor has not taken a firm position on the wagering bill which was championed by fellow GOP policymakers.

Plans for Regulated Gambling in Wyoming Continue

Wyoming is well-known for having some of the restrictive gambling laws in the United States. Several lawmakers here are pushing for better regulation over the state’s gambling industry, yet key government officials have shut these plans down. This week, news is coming out that the plans for better-regulated gambling in Wyoming are being discussed once again.

Wyoming State Flag

Many here are calling for the creation of a state Gaming Commission. Despite there being several tribal casinos in Wyoming, there is no government body dedicated to regulating the gambling industry. Let’s take a look at what’s being considered and where this state is heading with its gambling operations.

Wyoming’s Unique Stance on Gambling

For most of the 20th century, lawmakers in Wyoming shut down any attempts to legalize gambling. In 1989, the US Supreme Court passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. This allows Native American tribes to open and operate full-scale casinos on tribal land.

Wyoming fought hard against this. State officials refused to negotiate with Native American tribes, who in turn took the state to court. Finally, in 2005, the tribes won their case. Today, there are four land-based casinos in Wyoming, all of which offer traditional slots and table games.

Not everyone is happy with the current set of gambling laws in this state. For years now, a number of states have begun to open their gaming markets. Even states like New York, which has been largely anti-gambling over the years, has now legalized sports betting and commercial casino gambling.

Some of Wyoming’s legislative leaders are actively pushing for the state to expand its gambling operations. Other state officials are against it. What can we expect moving forward?

Lawmakers Flip Flop on Regulated Gambling in Wyoming

Officials are torn on how to approach the gambling industry. Three weeks ago, the state’s Legislature’s Joint Committee of Travel announced it was giving up on regulating the gambling industry. It was disappointing news for many state officials and gambling fans.

Wyoming’s Legislative leadership immediately argued against this decision. Once again, lawmakers here are working to create a Gambling Commission and regulate the industry.

Senator Ogden Driskell filed a motion to allow all traditional forms of gambling in the state. Driskell argues that a huge number of illegal gambling machines are already spread around Wyoming. Unless lawmakers work to regulate this industry, illegal gambling will continue. He spoke to the media this week about why a state-regulated gambling industry is so important.

“Local control only works when you have an overarching framework to work within,” he said. “When you look at our county commission setup, and our citizen-run towns, they have local control but under the auspices of laws created by the state, with some sideboards. If we’re going to do local control with gambling, there has to be a regulation that’s over the top.”

Driskell wants the state’s Pari-Mutuel Commission to begin overseeing all forms of gambling in the state. Wyoming state officials will need to change the state’s legislation in order to better regulate the gambling industry. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not this happens in the future.

Online Gambling is Still Available in Wyoming

It could be months or even years before lawmakers here agree to gambling regulation. Fortunately, there are still many amazing online gambling sites in Wyoming. Most of these offer a wide range of different casino and sports betting options.

Internet casino gambling is growing extremely popular. It’s a big state and only four land-based gambling establishments are currently available. More people here are realizing they can play casino games online from the comfort of home!

Some of the best Wyoming casino sites also provide a range of live dealer games. These are games played with a live video stream to a real-life casino dealer who collects your wagers. There’s no better way to feel like you’re playing inside of a real casino.

Regulated gambling in Wyoming seems to be on the horizon. Of course, certain lawmakers here will do anything they can to keep this state’s gambling market in the dark. Make sure to stay tuned for updates to Wyoming’s gambling laws as they change.