Following a reconsideration motion, Wyoming’s sports betting bill was finally approved by a vote of 32-28.
Wyoming Sports Betting Bill Moves onto the Senate
The House of Representatives has finally approved a bill legalizing sports betting in Wyoming. The bill was initially rejected, but now it is moving onto the Senate. On March 9, state representatives voted against the proposed legislation, and it failed to pass with 32-28. However, a day later, the Wyoming House of Representatives launched a reconsideration motion, and the bill received the green light.
Initially, state representatives were concerned that the bill did not take into account the interest of tribes. Rep. Landon Brown said he asked for reconsideration by Rep. Clifford and the Democratic Representatives and assured them that the concerns would be brought forward in the Senate. The bill is now in the hands of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
What Is the Intention of the Bill?
Under the terms of HB 133, sports betting in Wyoming will be legal for people ages 18 and up. The activity will be regulated by the Wyoming Gaming Commission, which will launch on July 1. The market will be open for online sportsbook operators active in at least three other states.
License fees will amount to $100,000 and will be valid for five years, after which a renewal fee of $50,000 must be paid. The state’s general fund will collect a 10% tax. In February, co-sponsor Sen. Jeff Wasserburger commented on the potential gaming revenues with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and said that:
“It’s not going to solve all the issues that we see in the mineral industry, that’s for sure. But it’s going to help a little bit.”
Previous Attempts to Legalize Sports Betting
Last year, Representative Tom Walters and Senator Ogden Driskill introduced HB 0225 aimed at legalizing online and mobile sports wagering. The proposed legislation sought to launch a regulated market no later than January 1, 2021. However, the act did not make it past the third reading.
The bill envisaged a $20,000 initial license fee that would have been valid for 12 months, as well as an annual renewal fee of $10,000. Despite the lower permission fees, the legislation proposed a substantially higher tax rate of 16%. According to Walters, the market will continue to operate in an ‘underground world’ until the approval of the bill.
Wyoming’s southern neighbor, Colorado, reported $326.9 million in handle in February. Also, South Dakota lawmakers voted ‘yes’ to sportsbook legalization last week. The bill will allow players to wager in-person at casinos in the city of Deadwood. According to the Gaming Commission, Wyoming’s sports betting market could bring more than $449 million.