A bill that has the potential to bring legal sports betting to Wyoming has passed its first Senate vote. It needs to pass two more votes before it gets forwarded to the governor.
The bill – HB 0133 – was introduced as lawmakers seek to raise revenue for the state. If it’s approved, the bill will direct the Wyoming Gaming Commission to impose a 10% tax on the industry and to take the role of regulating sports gambling. The bill has the backing of six House co-sponsors and two more in the Senate.
The Gaming Commission believes that a mature sports gambling market in Wyoming has a potential annual value of around $450 million.
Lawmakers have pointed out that residents are already heading out of the state to place sports bets, and it makes sense to keep those precious gambling dollars within Wyoming by creating local sports betting options.
Key features of HB 0133:
- The Wyoming Gambling Commission, in its capacity of regulator of the industry, will issue sports betting licenses.
- Licenses will only be available to vendors who already operate in at least 3 US jurisdictions. This opens the doors to larger sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and William Hill.
- Permits will come with a price tag of $100,000 and will remain valid for five years. Renewal fees will cost $50K.
- Eligible bettors physically in Wyoming will be allowed to place a bet anywhere within state lines.
- The Northern Arapaho tribe are planning to introduce sportsbooks at three of its casinos, although it is limited to in-person bets.
Opposition to Sports Betting Bill
As with all bills governing contentious subjects such as gambling, opposition has been expressed to HB 0133. Opponents argue that the bill could lead to gambling addiction.
T0 appease these opponents, the bill expressly sets aside the first $300,000 in sports betting revenue made each year, in order to provide funding for gambling addiction treatment and responsible gambling education.