Welcome to Wyoming! For a state with a sparse population, Wyoming offers surprisingly robust gambling choices, though legal Wyoming online casinos are not an option in the state.
Now that sports betting is on the way to the high plains, it’s a good idea to take stock of all the choices available to you. The state’s immense size and distance between towns makes Wyoming’s online gambling options much more important than in smaller states. The nearest in-state casino is four hours away from Cheyenne, the state capital and largest town in Wyoming.
The good news is that you’ve come to the right place to find out about all the ways to gamble in Wyoming. Read on for all the latest about in-person and online gambling in Wyoming.
Play online slots in Wyoming
Can you gamble online in Wyoming?
It depends on what you mean. Online casinos are not legal in Wyoming. Online poker is not available under the law, either. There are no legal sites that offer these services to people in Wyoming. However, there are some other types of gambling that are available online.
First and foremost, Wyoming online sports betting is on the way. Thanks to Gov. Mark Gordon’s signature on HB133, sports betting became a legal activity in Wyoming. No online sportsbooks have launched yet, but a debut in 2021 is likely.
You can also bet on horse racing online in Wyoming. Wyoming has a long and deep history with all things equine. There are three racetracks with live racing in the state. There are standalone off-track betting facilities scattered across the land. The state university’s mascot is the Cowboys. Heck, even the state logo is a cowboy on a rearing horse. It’s no surprise that you can bet on horse races through your phone.
Daily fantasy sports contests are also available to Wyoming residents. DFS exists in Wyoming in a sort of gray area within the law. DraftKings, FanDuel and other DFS providers are active within the state. However, that status is soon to change. In addition to legalizing online sports betting, HB133 also reclassified DFS as a non-gambling activity. So, Wyomingites will soon be able to play daily fantasy sports in a regulated environment.
Finally, if you really have a hankering for online casino games and poker, you can try sweepstakes casinos. As is the case in many other states, Wyoming does not have a problem with legitimate sweepstakes giveaway sites as long as they conform to certain rules about their operations.
The point is that you don’t necessarily have to leave your home in order to gamble in Wyoming. If it’s winter, fall or early spring, that news should be music to your ears.
Are online casinos legal in Wyoming?
No. Online casinos are not legal in Wyoming at this time. Any site that tells you something to the contrary is either mistaken or is deceiving you. Title 6 of the Wyoming Statutes has this definition for gambling in its naming of legal offenses:
“‘Gambling’ means risking any property for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, over which the person taking a risk has no control.”
Obviously, the state will soon amend this version of the statute with regard to the section on sporting events. However, it’s a fairly broad definition that strictly limits gambling in the state. Although there’s no mention of “online” as part of the definition, it’s quite unlikely that the omission means that online casinos are somehow all right with Wyoming law enforcement.
The only exceptions are, as we mentioned above, sweepstakes casinos. Sites like Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Slots and Funzpoints offer slots and table games that are, more or less, indistinguishable from actual online casino games.
Can you play online poker in Wyoming?
No. As is the case with online casinos, there are no online poker sites that are operating legally in the state of Wyoming. The Equality State’s statutory definition of gambling does not leave very much wiggle room for most activities, and online poker is not an exception to the law. Any site that says otherwise is playing a bit fast and loose with the truth, but we’ll talk about that in just a bit.
In the meantime, the best option that you have available is a sweepstakes poker site like Global Poker. Global is part of the same family of sites as Chumba and LuckyLand and uses the same two currencies, Gold Coins and Sweeps Coins. Global offers No Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha in cash game, tournament and sit and go formats. Obviously, the easiest type of game to find is a hold’em game, but there are usually PLO games running throughout the day. If you’ve been looking for an online poker site in Wyoming, Global can fit the bill.
Will Wyoming regulate online gambling in the future?
Possibly, yes. Given Wyoming’s recent move to legalize online sports betting, it would be imprudent to say that lawmakers would not go forward on other types of online gambling in the state. In fact, it is probably more likely that we would see online gambling before more land-based gambling in the Equality State.
Every state is bound by its own geography and population. The accessibility of different types of gambling is determined by how convenient it is to travel to retail facilities. There’s no denying that online gambling is more convenient than land-based casinos, but the notion of how convenient varies from place to place. Sticking with retail-only options in a state like Delaware is much more defensible than it is in a state like New York or Texas.
So, from that point of view, Wyoming’s decision to keep its sports betting as an online-only feature makes total sense. The state is quite large, and its communities are spread far apart. Traveling to a land-based casino in Wyoming is a major inconvenience, and that’s before you add in the complication that the weather provides every winter. Impassable highway conditions are quite common — to the point that highways have railroad barrier arms that WYDOT and/or other authorities can use to close major thoroughfares like I-80 and I-25.
Online gambling is also advisable for Wyoming due to its sparse population. Its cities and towns are, as mentioned, quite spread apart, and they are not large to boot. The largest city, Cheyenne, is located in the southeastern corner of the state, hours from any other Wyoming-based population centers aside from Laramie. Also, understand that we’re using the term “city” loosely — Cheyenne is home to roughly 60,000 people, and that’s as big as Wyoming cities get. With only 550,000 permanent residents total in the Equality State, gambling options need to cast as wide a net as they can.
So, consider Wyoming’s upcoming launch of sports betting as a trial run for online gambling. If things go well, it might not be too far-fetched to see the state consider other types of online gambling.
Legal online gambling in Wyoming
As we mentioned, there are no legal online gambling sites active in Wyoming at this time (except the sweepstakes sites mentioned above). If you find a site that does accept players from Wyoming, it is illegal and based offshore. Playing on these sites is extremely problematic.
Because they fall beyond the jurisdiction of either the Wyoming or US legal system, they are not bound by the same rules, regulations and standards. If you were to have some sort of dispute about gameplay or, worse, getting your money back, you might find your options for compelling the site to comply to be extremely limited.
Furthermore, there are very few ways to establish the authenticity and trustworthiness of the site that you’re using. Even if it claims to have a regulatory agency overseeing its actions, it is hard to be certain that the agency is in a position to enforce any kind of standards on the site or is even a completely separate entity from the site.
Finally, even if you find a site that is trying to operate honestly, you still might be putting yourself at undue risk. Remember that online casinos and poker sites require you to submit your personal and banking details in order to play. Even if the site is on the level, its site security might be suspect or vulnerable to external hacking.
Joining such a site is just not worth the risk. Wyoming’s chances of launching online gambling are probably better than average, to be honest. If sports betting can get off the ground and provide a boost to the state government’s coffers, lawmakers might be inspired to expand further. Until then, stick to the sweepstakes sites or refrain from playing. It’s hard enough to win without having to worry about all these other issues we mentioned.
Who regulates gambling in Wyoming?
The Wyoming Gaming Commission is the oversight agency for most legal gambling that takes place in the state. Historically, much of that activity has been related to horse racing. Wyoming is home to three racetracks and a number of off-track betting facilities, but no true commercial casinos. Hence, the Wyoming Gaming Commission is actually the new name for an agency that was the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission until 2020.
Unsurprisingly, the WGC is the regulator for charitable gaming in the state. There are several bingo halls in Wyoming. Plus, the commission will also oversee the state’s new sports betting industry. The state law that allowed sports betting named the WGC as the regulator for it, and there’s already a tab for sports wagering on the commission’s website. Although things are not underway yet, it’s clear that the WGC is in charge of most gambling in Wyoming. There are only a couple of exceptions to that rule.
One of those exceptions is, oddly enough, the lottery. The Wyoming Lottery is actually a private entity and not managed by the state. By the organization’s own admission, it receives no tax dollars and is a for-profit business. In keeping with the quirkiness of this situation, the lottery is only permitted to sell draw games, not scratchers, and can only do business in retail settings.
The other exception is, of course, the tribal casinos. There are several tribal casinos that are clustered in the western portion of the state. Needless to say, they are not subject to the rules and regulations of the WGC. Tribes are considered sovereign entities and police their own businesses, including casinos.
If and when online gambling expands beyond sports betting in Wyoming, the Wyoming Gaming Commission will undoubtedly be the regulatory agency tapped to oversee it. There’s really no other option that makes any kind of sense.
What is the legal gambling age in Wyoming?
Eighteen. Wyoming is one of the few states with 18 as the gambling age across the board. Its tribal casinos, racetracks, OTBs and bingo halls all allow high school seniors to play. Somewhat unusually, online sportsbooks in the state will also allow 18-year-olds to wager.
Types of legal gambling in Wyoming
As we mentioned earlier, there are several types of legal gambling already present in Wyoming. Here is what you’ll find:
- Table games
- Live poker
- Pari-mutuel wagering on horse races
- Historic horse race betting
- Lottery draw games
- Charitable gaming, like bingo and Calcutta
- Home-based poker games
- Online sports betting (soon)
Are there casinos in Wyoming?
Yes. There are four tribal casino properties in western Wyoming. The four are split between the two federally recognized tribes in the state — the Northern Arapaho and the Eastern Shoshone. The two tribes share the Wind River Reservation, which, at just over 3,500 square miles, is one of the largest reservations in the United States. At present, only one of the casino locations is a full-fledged casino with Class III gambling (table games, poker, etc.) The rest offer a few hundred slot machines for play. Here are the four properties:
- 789 Smokeshop & Casino: 10369 Highway 789, Riverton, WY 82501; 307-857-9451; slots only
- Little Wind Casino: 800 Blue Sky Highway, Ethete, WY 82520; 307-438-7000; slots only
- Shoshone Rose Casino & Hotel: 5690 US Highway 287, Lander, WY 82520; 307-206-7000; slots only
- Wind River Hotel & Casino: 180 Red Wolf Place, Riverton, WY 82501; 307-855-2600; slots, table games and poker
Types of games at Wyoming casinos
As we mentioned, there is only one casino in Wyoming that offers more games than just slot machines. So, while we’ll mention other games below, understand that you’re only going to find them at the Wind River in Riverton. Here are the available games at Wyoming casinos:
- Live poker cash games
- Live poker tournaments
Clearly, there are not too many options beyond slots at Wyoming casinos. However, it is certainly better than nothing.
Horse racing in Wyoming
The most entrenched form of gambling in Wyoming is betting on horses. The Equality State is home to three live racing facilities that operate from May until September. However, the three venues’ schedules are staggered so that the tracks rarely have conflicting race dates. Obviously, due to the challenges of the Wyoming winter, there are no races once snow becomes a consistent factor. Here are the three tracks in Wyoming:
- Energy Downs Cam-Plex: 1635 Reata Drive, Gillette, WY 82718 (May to June)
- Sweetwater Events Complex: 3320 Yellowstone Road, Rock Springs, WY 82901 (August to September)
- Wyoming Downs Racetrack: 10180 Highway 89 North, Evanston, WY 82930 (June to August)
In addition to the three tracks, there are 19 off-track betting facilities scattered around the state. The three licensed holding companies that own and operate the tracks themselves also own and operate all of the OTBs. Many of them are branded with either the Horse Palace or Wyoming Downs OTB name. Each facility has simulcast racing from around the country and allows players over the age of 18 to bet. You can also place wagers on historic horse races at these facilities. The OTBs in Wyoming are as follows:
- Casper: Casper Horse Palace
- Casper: Wyoming Downs OTB (Galloways)
- Casper: Casper Horse Palace West
- Cheyenne: Cheyenne Horse Palace
- Cheyenne: Cheyenne Plaza
- Cheyenne: Outlaw Saloon
- Evanston: Evanston Horse Palace
- Evanston: Wyoming Downs OTB
- Evansville: Wyoming Downs OTB
- Gillette: Gillette Horse Palace
- Gillette: Wyoming Downs OTB
- Gillette: Wyoming Downs Sports & Wagering Emporium
- Green River: Green River Horse Palace
- Laramie: Wyoming Downs OTB
- Mills: The Beacon Club
- Rock Springs: Bombers Sports Bar
- Rock Springs: Wyoming Downs OTB
- Sheridan: Sheridan Horse Palace
- Sheridan: Wyoming Downs OTB
There are also several online horse betting sites that will accept wagers from Wyomingites and other inhabitants of the Equality State. TVG is the top option when it comes to horse betting sites in the US. In addition to offering wagering on nearly every race in the US (and world), TVG is also a 24-hour broadcast network dedicated to horse racing.
Responsible gambling in WY
Thankfully, Wyoming has made several concerted efforts to connect its problem gamblers with the right people. The Wyoming Council on Problem Gambling is a small but active affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling, and you can find trained counselors to help you find aid nearby if you call or text 1-800-522-4700. You can also visit the NCPG site and use the live chat function, if you prefer. This helpline is managed 24 hours a day, and is a confidential and free service to connect you with the right people to help you get on the road to recovery.
Another option for problem gamblers is the use of support groups. Groups like Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon hold weekly meetings that unite sufferers and their families, respectively, with others in the same situation. Where a therapist environment might seem intimidating or off-putting, these groups might be effective in providing real support and accountability. Since they consist of people in the same dire situation, there cannot be any judgment or power imbalance — everyone is just trying to get better.
Unfortunately, there are no regular meetings of Gamblers Anonymous in Wyoming at this time. However, you can find meetings in nearby towns just across the border. Depending on where you live in Wyoming, you can try the meetings in the following locations:
- Fort Collins, Colorado
- Pocatello, Idaho
- Twin Falls, Idaho
- Billings, Montana
- Bozeman, Montana
- Scottsbluff, Nebraska
- Belle Fourche, South Dakota
- Rapid City, South Dakota
- Salt Lake City, Utah
Obviously, Wyoming is a big place, and these locations might not work if you live in the center of the state. You can also reach out to GA’s Wyoming hotline at 855-2 CALL-GA (855-222-5542) if you can’t make the journey or need more immediate assistance.
Gam-Anon does have a regular meeting in Wyoming in Riverton. However, if Riverton is a bit of a jaunt for you, you can also try calling 718-352-1671 for help if someone you love is struggling with problem gambling. Finally, if all else fails, you can visit GamTalk online. GamTalk is an online forum that has the same goals and structure as Gamblers Anonymous. You can access discussions and ask questions of fellow sufferers across the country. In particular, GamTalk might be an option if you’d like to keep your identity a bit more shrouded.
Now, for all the resources in a state the size of Wyoming, not everything is rosy. There is one common element of responsible gambling that is missing from Wyoming’s infrastructure. Namely, there does not appear to be an active self-exclusion list on file with the state. Wyoming’s legalization of sports betting does not contain any language that mandates the establishment and maintenance of a self-exclusion list.
History of gambling in Wyoming
Wyoming’s history with legal gambling is not particularly illustrious. Upon the territory’s inclusion into statehood in 1890, gambling was widespread throughout the area. However, after the passage of the McGill Act in 1901, gambling became illegal in Wyoming. For nearly the next seven decades, there was no legal gambling in the state. This means there was no horse racing or lottery play. Finally, that began to shift, and the last half-century has seen different types of gambling becoming available in Wyoming. Here are the key dates in Wyoming gambling history.
The Wyoming Legislature votes to create the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission. At the time, horse racing is a dominant form of gambling throughout the US, and Wyoming’s deep history with all things equine means that there are several racing venues active around the state. The Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission remains the de facto oversight body in the state until 2020, when it is officially rechristened as the Wyoming Gaming Commission. Aside from Wyoming’s private lottery and the tribal casino on the Wind River reservation, the commission is charged with managing every bit of gambling that occurs in the Equality State.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act becomes federal law and sets a flurry of legal activity in motion throughout the US, including Wyoming. The law, in an effort to provide a means of economic benefit to the historically impoverished tribes, allows for various types of gambling to occur legally on tribal lands. There are two catches to the law, however. The first issue is that the only tribes that gain this option are groups that the US government recognizes as tribes. The other problem is that in order to offer gambling, tribes must first come to an agreement (a compact) with their home state, and the states are under no obligation to negotiate with the tribes. For more than a decade, the state of Wyoming refused to come to the bargaining table with either of its two federally recognized tribes, the Northern Arapaho and the Eastern Shoshone. However, both tribes finally reached a deal with lawmakers in 2006, though not before a key event one year prior.
After roughly 15 years of legal battles, Wyoming’s Northern Arapaho Tribe secures a second, and definitive, court victory over its desire to offer full Class III casino gambling on tribal lands. The state of Wyoming had argued stridently for a limited form of gambling, but two different panels and hearings in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals produced the same result: an affirmation that the tribe could offer slots and table games if it chose to do so. The state relents and comes to the table with the tribes. Compacts for both the Shoshone and the Arapaho are finalized one year later.
The Wyoming Legislature votes to allow historical horse racing machines at track locations in the state. At the time, the number of tracks with active racing had dwindled to a single location at Wyoming Downs, so the new law expands pari-mutuel betting to a year-round activity, rather than a seasonal one. In the same year, the Wyoming Lottery is born as a private entity. Somewhat unusually, the law that enables the lottery’s creation mandates that no state funds be used to get the games off the ground.
Lawmakers decide to move forward with online sports betting as a legal activity. A signature from Gov. Mark Gordon on HB133 sets the stage for no fewer than five sportsbook apps to launch in the Equality State. Unusually and, perhaps, prudently, the law mandates that license applicants be active in three other states in order to qualify. In other words, only top online sportsbook providers will be eligible to operate in Wyoming. Wyoming is now set to become only the second state (after Tennessee) to offer sports betting in an online-only setting. However, the Northern Arapaho Tribe (which owns the Wind River Casino) has announced that it will pursue a retail sportsbook onsite in the near future. Nevertheless, gambling has come a long way in Wyoming from the outright ban of the McGill Act.