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Wyoming Online Casino Legislation Doesn’t Get Votes For Introduction In Short Session

Written By Matthew Kredell on February 16, 2024
Wyoming Online Casino Denied

Wyoming won’t consider online casino legislation this session.

The Wyoming House voted 25-36-1 not to take up iGaming legislation this year.

Rep. Robert Davis filed HB 120 last week, hoping his colleagues would take up the bill.

Because Wyoming is in a short budget session with less than a month to consider legislation, the House requires two-thirds of members to vote for a bill for it to gain introduction officially.

A favorable vote of at least 42 members would have meant the introduction of the bill and assignment to a committee.

In his opening remarks on the House floor, Davis told his colleagues:

“This bill does several important things. It begins to eradicate the illegal iGaming market right here in Wyoming. That activity is taking place without any protections for our citizens who are playing these games. … If we can install the guardrails to do this, it will roll out just like our sports wagering has.”

Gaming commission slams brakes on Wyoming online casino

Rep. John Winter remarked that a representative of the Wyoming Gaming Commission told legislators that the body wasn’t ready for the state to move on to Wyoming online casinos.

“It’s my understanding that the gaming commission wants to shut this down,” Winter said. “They think it’s going too fast and they’re concerned about the youngsters that have telephones that can do this gaming.”

Davis, who served as president of the Wyoming Gaming Commission in 2020, scoffed at the notion the commission needed more time.

“As far as the gaming commission stance, three years ago when I served on the commission, this was on their radar,” he said.

Davis added a rebuttal to the concern that legalizing iGaming would allow youth to gamble in Wyoming online casinos.

“By bringing this on to the responsible platforms, that will allow our youth no entry on to this iGaming. Because the responsible platforms have the safeguards built right into them.”

Rep. Allen Slagle also offered opposition to the bill, saying:

“I don’t feel there are protections in place for offshore gambling that is affecting us and this is just another way for our citizens to become addicted to the gambling we have right now.”

Wyoming online casino could follow in sports betting’s footsteps

In terms of timing in the short session, the gaming commission’s objection makes sense. Especially in a state that doesn’t have commercial brick and mortar casinos.

Next year, Wyoming legislators could spend more time perfecting online casino legislation.

Much of Davis’ iGaming language mimics the Wyoming sports betting law. HB 120 was set up for current online sports betting operators in the state — FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, Fanatics and Penn/ESPN Bet have licenses — to offer real money online casinos.

In 2020, Wyoming lawmakers voted down sports betting legislation 32-27 in a short budget session. Wyoming legislators returned the next year and passed online sports betting legislation during a full session.

Next year, Wyoming online casino legislation can go right to committee for a hearing without needing a floor vote first. And the session will go about a month longer, providing more time to discuss the bill.

iGaming legislation remains active in five states this session, according to PlayUSA’s online casino bill tracker.

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Written by
Matthew Kredell

Matthew Kredell serves as senior lead writer of legislative affairs involving online gambling at PlayUSA. He began covering efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling in 2007 after federal passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act disrupted his hobby of playing small-stakes online poker. He has since interviewed more than 300 lawmakers around the country and written extensively about online gambling legislation. He has led coverage of bills to legalize online gambling in most states. A lifelong Angeleno and USC journalism alum, Matthew started his career working as a sportswriter for a decade at the Los Angeles Daily News. He has written on a variety of topics for Playboy Magazine, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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