Online sports betting is officially coming to Wyoming, and there is a good chance that the industry will launch later this year. Governor Mark Gordon signed HB 133 into law on Monday after it was passed by the Senate at the end of March.
Lawmakers in the state have been working since 2020 to craft sports betting legislation and gain enough support to get the bill passed. All Wyoming sports betting will be done online, but the state is expected to attract some big operators.
There will be at least five online sports betting licenses available, but that number could continue to grow in the coming years. Only those operators which are already licensed in three other states are eligible to apply for a sports betting license.
The Wyoming Gaming Commission will oversee and regulate the new sports betting industry, and it is expected to start receiving applications immediately. There is a $100,000 fee in place for a five-year permit, and operators can renew that license for just $50,000.
Even though Wyoming is not known for its sports, these favorable licensing fees should attract some big names.
Strange Route to Legalization
There was a time in March where it appeared that sports betting was simply not in the cards for Wyoming. HB 133 actually failed in the House on March 9, but the bill was given new life the very next day.
Representatives requested that the bill be reconsidered, and HB 133 was eventually approved with an overwhelming majority. The Wyoming Senate did add a few amendments to the bill, but that group passed the measure by a 24-5-1 vote, sending it to Gordon for signature.
NFL Season A Target
The Wyoming Gaming Commission has not set a specific launch date, but September 1 is the current target. A September 1 start date would allow the online sports betting industry to launch in time for the 2021 NFL season, the biggest betting draw in the U.S.
Lawmakers initially set a launch date of July 1 in the bill, but that date was removed after determining that things would not be in place by that time. It has taken some states more than 12 months to get the industry launched, and September 1 will still require the WGC to act fast.
Not Expected to Be Large Market
Wyoming is not expected to become a prominent sports betting market, but it could do better than some expect. DraftKings is one company expected to apply for a license, and it has already expressed optimism for what this market could become.
This state has the fewest residents of any in the United States, and the lack of professional sports will hurt the market growth as well. Lawmakers in Wyoming have projected that the state could see a potential revenue of close to $5 million annually through sports betting.
One of the biggest reasons for passing this legislation is that Wyoming residents are already betting on sports, and that money has been going elsewhere. This will all change sometime later in 2021, hopefully by the start of NFL season.