The Wyoming House of Representatives rejected a bill which would have legalized online sports betting in the state.
By a vote of 28-32 on the third reading during their March 9th session, the House defeated House Bill 133 based on ethical grounds. Sponsored by six representatives and two senators, the bill progressed through the House Committee last week before making it to the floor.
Could Damage People’s Lives
The House acknowledged that Wyoming online sports betting could have created a $449M market, they argued that the legalization of online sports betting could damage people’s lives. Rep. Evan Simpson of Lincoln County said that addictions will happen if the bill is passed and gambling addiction damages not only lives but also families.
Sheridan County Rep. Mark Jenings meanwhile, contended that online sports betting is a vice and it is the House’s constitutional duty to protect its constituents against vices. Sheridan referenced Section 20 of the Wyoming Constitution for his argument. Meanwhile, Fremont’s Rep. Andi Clifford said that she opposed the bill because representatives from the Eastern Shoshone Tribe were not included during the discussions.
House Bill 133
The Wyoming Gaming Commission was supposed to regulate Wyoming online sports betting. Only online gambling was to be legalized not only to bring people out of the unregulated online sports betting market but also to eliminate in-person sports wagering that involves bookkeepers in Wyoming.
House Bill 133 would have required sports betting operators to remit 10% of their online sports wagering revenues to the state. Before the bill was defeated, the legislators considered an amendment that would have directed the state’s collections to the state’s School Foundation Program instead of the General Fund. That proposal would’ve helped solve the structural deficit for education funding.