Wyoming is set to join the throng of states that have legalized sports betting in some form. The move, while not entirely unexpected, comes after an initial rejection. That leaves some skeptical it will get past the governor, who, in this scenario, ultimately has the final say. But we don't believe there's any cause for concern.
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Anyone in Wyoming worried that the legalization of sports betting is in jeopardy can rest easy. It was touch-and-go for a while, but as we noted above, everything appears headed on the right track. Wyoming's bill to legalize sports betting passed, and though some might wonder whether the governor will put a stop to it, optimism is more rampant than ever.
Remember, initial rejections don't mean much. It has happened all over the United States, only for similar bills to subsequently be passed. Just look at Wyoming's sibling to the west, in Washington. They have gone through the same motions, and sports betting is now on track to be legalized, in many forms, by the end of 2021.
Impact Of Legalized Sports Betting In Wyoming
Of course, at this point, you probably have a few questions. Why did Wyoming have a change of heart? How do they stand to benefit? What are the rules and regulations exactly? When will sports betting be legalized?
These are all great questions. And we're about to cover them.
Why Wyoming Legalized Sports Betting
Similar to the situation in Washington, Wyoming simply couldn't go on any longer without pushing through HB 133, the bill to legalize sports betting. Too many other surrounding states have already done the same.
Both South Dakota and Arizona have introduced legislation to legalize sports betting. On top of that, Wyoming is right next to Nevada, which boasts not only legalized sports betting but also the gambling capital of the world: Las Vegas.
If you're wondering why this matters, you're not alone. Wyoming, after all, isn't some tourist hotspot. People go there for the scenery, not to gamble. At the same time, they still want to attract tourists and, more importantly, permanent residents. It's easier to do that when you have more contemporary luxuries.
Perhaps most critically, Wyoming stands to see a monstrous financial benefit for legalizing sports betting. That was always an incentive, but it means infinitely more this side of the coronavirus pandemic, where local governments are seeing budgets dissipate without much potential for full-on recoveries.
Sure, Wyoming could hope that the economy returns to normal as time goes on. But the casino industry, in particular, needs a mobile presence to survive. With more people working remotely, very few expect casinos to recapture their previous capacity levels. They need to diversify their options.
Plus, sports betting also serves as a means of drawing people back to said physical locations. They no longer have to just play table games and slots or bet on the ponies. They can wager on other sports, as well.
So, in reality, the legalization of sports betting wears many hats. It seeks to protect casinos against declining foot traffic while also preserving, if not increasing, the foot traffic that still exists.
Financial Benefits Of Legal Sports Betting In Wyoming
When looking at the projections for how much Wyoming stands to make at the beginning of its legal sports-betting era, you'll immediately wonder why they didn't arrive at this conclusion sooner.
Experts estimate that the state will inevitably see close to half a billion dollars in bets placed per year. That's "billion" with a "b."
Granted, Wyoming is only entitled to a sliver of that pie, but it's a pretty big piece. At a projected 10 percent tax on gross gaming revenue, they will be raking an extra $45 to $50 million per year.
This doesn't include the money they will generate from operators paying licensing fees. The initial price is $100,000 for five years, with a $50,000 renewal fee thereafter. This money adds up if Wyoming is willing to allow plenty of variety into their sports-betting landscape.
Details Of Legalized Sports Betting In Wyoming
As with most bills passed, there are some caveats. We have plucked out the most notable:
- Wyoming will set up a minimum of five sportsbook operators as part of HB 133.
- DraftKings is expected to be among the first operators to apply and qualify, since their director of legal and governmental affairs, Chris Cipolla, was among those who lobbied for the bill in Wyoming specifically.
- To qualify for a Wyoming gaming license, sportsbook operators must be active in at least three other states.
- The legalization of sports betting applies to all online wagering, which includes fantasy sports.
- Bettors will need to be at least 18 years of age to place wagers or partake in fantasy sports for money.
It should also be noted Wyoming will tax the gaming operators at 10 percent of their revenue—a standard charge to start, but one that could rise over time.
When Will Sports Betting Officially Be Legal In Wyoming?
Wyoming is now waiting on HB 133 to receive the stamp of approval from the governor, who was apparently once an opponent of its implementation. That's no longer expected to be an issue. Changes were made to the bill before the last round of voting that helped ensure bi-partisan support.
Assuming all goes according to plan, experts expect the legalization of sports betting in Wyoming to take full effect around September 2021. This is fantastic news, as it will be just in time for the NFL and college football seasons—two sports that command a ton of betting action, which incentivizes Wyoming to make good on its timeline.
In other words: Get ready, Wyoming. Legal sports betting is just about here.
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