Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed the law on online sports betting this law, making his state the first to legalize online sports betting in 2021. The law enters into force on 1 September.
The Senate passed an amended HB 133 last Monday by a 24-5-1 vote.
At least five sportsbook operators will be allowed to operate online in Wyoming. Operators will be required to pay $ 100,000 for a five-year license, which includes a $ 50,000 renewal fee. A sportsbook operator must be active in three other states to apply to the Wyoming Gaming Commission for a license.
Although Wyoming is probably not a large sports betting market – it is the least populous state in the country with around 580,000 inhabitants – the steps the state has taken are remarkable. It is the first online law passed in 2021, and Wyoming would also become the second state to have an online sports betting market. It would join Tennessee with that distinction.
Legalizing online sports betting in Wyoming has been a unique situation. On March 9, the House of Representatives originally voted against a proposal to allow mobile sports betting, only for the House to change its decision a day later and vote for the bill.
Under the Wyoming Legislature, lawmakers who vote by a majority are allowed to request a reconsideration of the bill. Rep. Mike Yin asked for a new assessment of HB 133 after he voted no on 9 March. Chad Banks, along with Yin, then voted in favor of the bill and officially passed it to the Senate.
On March 26, the Senate proposed regulatory changes before Monday’s vote.
As part of the changes that were added, the original launch date of July 1 was changed to September 1, after Wyoming Gaming Commissioner Director Charles Moore submitted a letter of concern to the Senate Appropriations Committee about the previously proposed date.
Moore was pessimistic that the rules and regulations could be completed by July. Therefore, the committee changed the start date for online sports betting to 1 September.
Unsurprisingly, online operators are for Wyoming’s online sports betting bill. DraftKing’s Director of Legal and Government Affairs, Chris Cipolla, was one of the proponents of advocating for the bill during last week’s session.
Cipolla highlighted how 85% of pre-pandemic bets in New Jersey were online, while 88% of Pennsylvania games each month in 2020 were also online. He also mentioned that most of the Colorado games since its launch in May 2020 also came online.
Recent estimates suggest that online sports betting can generate between $ 2.23 million and $ 4.7 million in annual revenue. Proponents of the bill mention how online sports gambling is already taking place in their state, which means Wyoming is missing out on millions in potential revenue.
“This is already happening both legally and illegally,” Senator Drew Perkins, R-Casper, said during a recent session. “A big part of this bill is not necessarily to create a hammer to go after those who make it illegal, but more to create a more protected and regulated environment, so when (bettors) bet and they win, their bets are paid. ”