Legislators in the state of Wyoming have been considering sports betting legislation for quite some time. This week, House Bill 133 was approved by lawmakers and heads to the desk of Governor Mark Gordon in its final step before becoming law. The state is one of several in the US looking to get started in the sports betting industry.
The measure places the Wyoming Gaming Commission in charge of regulating the new industry. The bill barely passed within the House in early March, with a vote of 32-28. The final vote on the matter came in at 24-5 and now it seems the option to add sports betting will be a reality.
With approval, the Commission will have until September 1 to complete the rules and regulations for the new industry. Once that step is completed, the licensing process can begin. According to Senator Jeff Wasserburger, a co-sponsor of the measure, the bill is an effort to stop the black market and provide protection for consumers who want to enjoy sports betting.
Supporters of the bill have argued that since sports betting is already taking place in the state via unregulated sites and apps, lawmakers should legalize the activity and the state benefit. With oversight in place, consumers are protected, with payment ensured or winning bets. At unregulated sites, players are not protected and could face serious monetary losses.
The state also benefits. A 10% tax rate is set for al online sports bets placed. Operators must also pay fees to get started in the industry. This will be brand-new money coming in to the state and it will be very helpful, especially after dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is expected that the new sports betting industry in Wyoming is worth around $449 million or more annually. It is tough to determine the actual estimated revenues that can be expected but lawmakers are hopeful the industry will product high numbers to benefit the state.