Sports gamers note: Wyoming residents will soon be able to bet on their favorite sports directly from a mobile device.

On August 2, the Wyoming Gaming Commission voted unanimously to approve the rules for mobile sports betting, removing another hurdle that is expected to open the market in the coming weeks.

After going back and forth to the House of Representatives, HB 133, sponsored and pushed by Rep. Mark Walters, found its way onto the desk of Governor Mark Gordon, who signed the betting legalization bill in April. sports online. in Wyoming.

Until now, the state has not allowed gambling outside of tribal lands, with the exception of certain horse races, but residents will soon have the opportunity to play almost any sport imaginable, via applications called “mobile sports betting”.

With the rules approved, popular apps like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and the Barstool Sportsbook are now encouraged to apply for gaming in Wyoming, exploiting the state’s widely open market regulations in the process.

Wyoming’s initial set of rules and regulations were put in place in June, ahead of the 45-day public comment period, when some changes were made.

After the bill was passed by the Legislature, it was clear that state officials were ready to change their longstanding stance against gambling.

DraftKings underscored the importance of new revenue streams for states in a July 2020 letter to the Wyoming Gaming Commission.

“No state has been immune to the effects of the pandemic, and the resulting economic strains require a new look at income options. Sports betting has proven to be a reliable source of income, without raising the taxes of the state’s citizens. “

In the statutes, the Gaming Commission will be required to approve a minimum of five sports bets, without a defined maximum like other states. The change will ensure that the market remains competitive for entering companies at all times in the future.

As the state of Wyoming has a population of just over 576,000, industry-friendly rules that lawmakers have approved could be a driving force for sports betting to push the state’s market harder with campaigns. of marketing than some of the others in which they operate.

Wyoming guard Josh Adams celebrates a late two-point shot against Colorado State in a 2016 game in Fort Collins, Colorado.

“I think there is a competitive advantage,” said Charles Moore, executive director of the Wyoming Gaming Commission. “I think the advantage we have more than anything would be the desirability and attitude of Wyoming and our legislatures. Because of our size, although it sometimes hurts us, it also helps, because we can change to meet this appetite of our citizens. A large battleship is more difficult to maneuver than a small boat, a kind of philosophy. In Wyoming, because of our size, we can quickly turn around and make a big dynamic change in policies or opportunities. “

Each state has created its own unique footprint in the growing legal sports gambling market, and Wyoming is no different, offering its own unique set of regulations.

Wyoming will allow mobile sports betting, without legalizing retail or “brick and mortar” sports betting in casinos, following Tennessee, the only other state to have this selective designation.

Wyoming law will also allow anyone over the age of 18 to participate in mobile betting, a difference from the 21+ law that many other states have implemented.

Opportunities in Wyoming also include the ability to bet on state sports, which includes the University of Wyoming Cowboys football and basketball teams.

The regulations of the Gaming Commission include taxable income accruing to the state.

Nationally, the tax on sports betting income ranges from 6.75% in Nevada to 51% in Rhode Island.

In Wyoming, sports betting will pay a tax of 10% of all gross gambling revenues on commission.

When applying for a license, sports betting will be required to pay an upfront fee of $ 100,000 to the State of Wyoming for a license, valid for five years, with an annual renewal fee of $ 50,000.

“A lot of our Wyoming citizens already bet on sporting events, and they do so across different markets and different locations,” Moore said. “And so, you have to have a tax rate that will direct them to our state legal market. I think it will be good for the state, good for the citizens, and also good for the state of Wyoming as a revenue generator.

According to the bill, the Gambling Commission estimates that the Wyoming sports betting market is worth approximately $ 449.1 million per year.

In an effort to tackle problem gambling, Wyoming is expected to allocate the first $ 300,000 of each fiscal year to the Department of Health to help fund treatment for gambling addiction in the state.

The specter of gambling addiction is ominous, said Beverly Shore, a community prevention specialist with the Teton County Department of Health.

“Moderation doesn’t exist, once you’re there,” Shore said.

“Like any substance abuse disorder, it can affect your sleep, your mental state with regards to reasoning, coping, lack of sleep and food,” Shore said. “It affects relationships and the positive things in your life that you do for functionality and responsibility. Really, it’s no different than any other impact of a substance use disorder except it’s digital. Then you go down that rabbit hole and it’s hard to get out of it.

Director Moore believes the state has done a good job of setting aside a large sum of money for treatment.

With legalization, Moore also agreed that mobile betting could also become popular for Wyoming’s roaming neighbors of Utah and Idaho, two states that appear unlikely to legalize them in the near future.

“I think that’s a good benefit for people traveling on I-80 as well, when they come into the state,” Moore said. “I think you’ll see a bit of that.”

Moore said it would be interesting to see how the Wyoming mobile platform affects the South Dakota gaming market, which is currently limited to only physical operations.

In April, The Associated Press reported that the future of sports betting is almost entirely online. His research has shown that over 80% of sports betting in the US is placed in a mobile / online setting.

Bettors in Wyoming will also be allowed to bet in crypto, digital and virtual currency, provided that it can be converted into US dollars and is approved as an option by the individual bookmaker.

Virtual casinos and mobile sports betting slots, a popular service in other states, will not be permitted.

New users typically need to enter their social security number, along with a legal address, as part of the full age verification process for mobile apps.

With the start of the 2021 NFL season approaching, the opportunity for sports betting to open before kick-off is not unrealistic, with September 9 appearing to be a reasonable amount of time for the first legal bets to take place. be placed in the state of Wyoming.

“It’s no different than any other impact of a substance use disorder except it’s digital. – Beverly Shore Teton County Health Unit

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