A bill to fully legalize online sports betting in the state of Wyoming has passed the Senate and State Governor Mark Gordon has put his signature to it, sending online sports wagering into the state’s law.
Wyoming’s HB 133 romped through the Senate receiving a 24-5-1 approval vote following the House’s approval of some small amendments, 36-20-4.
Under the bill the Wyoming Gaming Commission would impose a 10% tax on legalized sports wagering. However, at this stage, the Wyoming Legislative Service Office has said it cannot yet estimate how much money the bill might raise for state coffers to fund a range of government services and programs for the state’s residents.
However, the potential for filling the state’s revenue coffers is massive according to estimations from the Gaming Commission. At the current time, it is thought that the state’s residents wager as much as $450 million per year on illegal sports betting. With Wyoming facing a number of fiscal pressures (the state school budgetary shortfall alone is more than $300 million per year), any revenue raised by legalized online sports betting is set to be a financial shot in the arm for a Wyoming State Budget reeling from global pandemic created black holes.
What’s in the Wyoming Sports Betting Bill
Now approved by the Governor, HB 133 is set to allow for state-wide online sports betting, protected by cutting-edge geolocation technology.
Online sports bettors in Wyoming will have access to at least 5 state-licensed sportsbooks. At this stage, the five online sportsbooks are not known but could most possibly include big national market leaders like;
All initial online sportsbook licenses will be good for five years to the tune of $100 000 per operator for application fee along with a $50 000 annual renewal fee. Wyoming will allow for both in-state and out-of-state betting for college sports. Some states like the nation’s leading online sports betting leader, New Jersey, do not make provisions for in-state college betting.
One of the major changes for the potential Wyoming sports betting industry is that compared to most states they have the age limit for sports betting set for 18 and older, compared to 21 and older elsewhere. With one of the main goals being to eliminate offshore sportsbooks, which requires users to be just 18, clearly Wyoming is looking to capture the 18-21 years of age demographic.
While no formal announcement has been made by the Governor’s office, it is widely expected that he will sign the legislation into law.
Following Governor Gordon’s signature, the Wyoming Gaming Commission should now begin to formalize the rest of rules and any additional fees for both operators and those betting within the state. The planning phase has been very short in some states (Virginia comes to mind), however, some states (such as Tennessee, that adopted a very similar sports betting model) have taken even more than a year to formalize their sports betting arrangements.
If Wyoming is looking to generate a revenue return as quickly as possible, then the Cowboy State could possibly look to start for as early as the beginning of the NFL and College Football seasons in September 2021. On a number of occasions in other state launches, sportsbooks and states have pushed for a football deadline, as the NFL and college football are two of the major revenue generating sports.
Wyoming now becomes the first online-sports-betting-only legislation to be approved in 2021 and will become only the second state in the nation after Tennessee with online-only sports betting market.