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.”
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.