On Friday, a bill that sponsored the legalization of sports betting failed during the House floor vote in Wyoming.
H 225 by Rep. Tom Walters suffered a narrow defeat during voting by 27-32. Unfortunately, the opponents of his bill are against all forms of gaming.
According to Legal Sports Report who spoke with Rep. Walters, he said:
“They felt that by providing a regulatory opportunity it was legalizing it. I somewhat disagree in saying it’s not illegal but it operates in an underground world because we don’t have a regulatory framework in place. With no regulatory framework, it will continue to not be monitored.”
About H 225: the Wyoming sports betting bill
Geographically speaking, Wyoming ranks as the tenth largest state in the US. Yet, it is home to only four tribal casinos and a couple of horse racing tracks providing plenty of opportunity for growth.
Both companies are eager to bring online sports betting to the state. Notably, the bill did not limit the number of applicants for sports betting licenses.
H 225 would have imposed a 16% tax rate along with initial licensing fees of $20,000 which is renewable for an annual amount of $10,000.
In addition, in order to sports bet, you would need to be a minimum of 18 years old before your first wager. Finally, the state could have accepted sports wagers at the start of 2021.
Walter to try again in the next term for gambling bill
But for now, gambling in Wyoming is limited to dog and horse racing. There is also unregulated video gambling at bars.
Wyoming is simply not ready for gambling expansion legislation. In fact, prior to the final vote, Walters felt that it would be quite close.
“I knew it was tight but felt like I had enough support that it was worth it, and also I wanted to start the conversation. There were some people who were maybes, and ultimate five of those folks decided to vote no.”
On the other hand, it could mean there is growing support for sports betting in Wyoming. In fact, should Walters be re-elected come November, it would not be surprising to see another sports betting bill next year.
“I think legislators will go home and their constituents will ask what happened with sports betting. I think a lot of them don’t realize how much sports betting is taking place.
“When they get back and talk to their neighbors, they’ll be shocked by how much interest there is in this, and then next year they might be excited to put regulation in place.”