Wyoming’s sports betting launch remains on time for its targeted launch on Sept. 1.
On Tuesday, the Wyoming Gaming Commission (WGC) met for a special meeting to finalize the state’s online sports betting rules. Earlier in the day, the WGC posted its latest draft of the rules and eventually decided to send them to Gov. Mark Gordon after approving them at the end of Tuesday’s special meeting. The rules will be sent to Gordon on Friday.
The commission noted the framework of Wyoming’s rules were put in place after considering what states such as Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan, Iowa and Indiana have used for their sports betting launches.
“We really appreciate the hard work that everybody put into this,” WGC President Bob Davis said. “We are still on track for the Sept. 1 deadline that was mandated. We look forward to getting this part of the process completed.”
Most of the hearing discussed formatting and technical aspects of the rules.
During the public comment section of the meeting, Chris Cipolla, director of legal and government affairs for DraftKings, asked the WGC if there are any expected timelines currently being contemplated for the release of applications and licensing process.
Currently, the WGC has no plans for when that process can begin.
“I’ve said to several people that have called, ‘My focus is what we have right here in front of us,’ ” Davis said. “After today’s meeting, and after we get this headed toward the governor’s office, then I’ll move to what I consider phase two. Prepare the licenses, get things prepared, start moving forward, and I would like to have as much work done on the front end and get these things moving headed our way as quickly as possible.
“Obviously you want to start operating soon, so we have the same things that we have in line as well.”
Gordon signed online sports betting legislation into law in early April, making his state the first to legalize online sports betting in 2021.
According to HB 133, the Wyoming Gaming Commission is allowed to accept license applications from qualified operators. The bill defines qualified operators as “a sports wagering vendor that is currently operating in good standing in a similar role in at least three jurisdictions in the United States under a state regulatory structure.”
This means Wyoming’s online market will include well-known operators already up and running in at least three other states. Residents can expect brand names such as DraftKings and FanDuel to become available once the state officially launches its sports betting platforms on Sept. 1.
Although Wyoming is not likely to be a big sports betting market — it's the least populated state in the nation with about 580,000 residents — it has taken noteworthy steps. Wyoming is just the second state to have an online-only sports betting market, joining Tennessee with that distinction.
Early estimates project $500 million will be wagered annually in the state.
When it launches, Wyoming will join neighboring states such as Montana and Colorado in the sports betting market. Nebraska and South Dakota also recently signed sports betting into law. Colorado remains the only neighboring state for Wyoming to feature a competitive online sports wagering market.