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THE GAMALYZE CHALLENGE

Online Casinos in Wyoming Are Now a Possibility

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Wyoming has emerged as a potential player in the online casino industry. Late on Tuesday night, Representative Robert Davis introduced HB 120, a bill aimed at legalizing and regulating iGaming within the state.

Out of the Blue

This unexpected move positions Wyoming as the sixth state this year to entertain active legislation concerning online casinos. There’s a lot of work ahead, as this will be a short legislative session due to it being a budget year.

Unlike Rhode Island, which had a smoother path to online casino legalization due to having only one gaming entity when it legalized iGaming last year, Wyoming faces a more complex landscape. The state is home to four Native Indian casinos and four online sportsbooks, presenting various interests and stakeholders within the gambling industry.

HB 120 outlines the definition of interactive games, encompassing internet-based versions of popular casino games like poker, blackjack and slots. Key provisions of the bill include the appointment of the Wyoming Gaming Commission as the regulatory body, the issuance of no fewer than five interactive gaming operator permits and setting the minimum age for participation at 18 years old.

Furthermore, the bill stipulates initial and renewable fees for operator and vendor permits and addresses the possibility of live dealers without mandating their location within Wyoming. It also allows for multistate agreements to enhance the viability of online poker in the state.

A notable aspect of HB 120 is its commitment to addressing problem gambling. The bill allocates $300,000 annually to fund county health programs aimed at prevention and treatment, with any remaining revenue directed to the general fund.

Sports Betting Set the Stage

Wyoming's foray into online casino legislation follows its legalization of online sports betting in 2021, a move that also caught many by surprise. Currently, four operators have online sportsbooks in the state, with additional permits granted to Fanatics and Barstool Sports. These existing permit holders stand to benefit from an expedited application process for iGaming licenses, as outlined in HB 120.

Despite the presence of two federally recognized Native Indian tribes in Wyoming—the Northern Arapaho and the Eastern Shoshone—Representative Davis has not engaged in discussions with them regarding their stance on iGaming. It remains uncertain whether these tribes would pursue commercial arrangements similar to those seen in other states.

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