Wyoming Sports Betting Nearing Fall Launch

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Steve Conner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Wyoming Cowboys mascot runs onto the field.

Wyoming regulators cleared another hurdle that could bring legal sports betting to the state before the 2021 football season.

The Wyoming Gaming Commission unanimously approved sports betting rules Monday that will outline licensure, taxation and other requirements for the state’s sportsbook operators. The commission, by law, had to promulgate these rules before Sept. 1.

Monday’s vote clears one more step for prospective operators to begin the licensing process. More work remains, but officials Monday promised to advances the approved regulations “as quickly as possible.”

Final approval and licensure could take several more weeks, but the state’s first legal sportsbooks are poised to potentially accept Wyoming customers before the NFL season kicks off Sept. 9.

Details

Wyoming is the nation’s second uncapped online sportsbook, meaning an unlimited number of operators can apply. Like Tennessee, the first uncapped market, Wyoming will only permit online sportsbook licenses.

Eligible bettors age 18 and up can register, deposit and wager from anywhere within state lines. Wyoming is one of the first states that allows bettors under the age of 21 to bet legally.

State regulators must approve eligible sports and leagues that can be wagered upon but there are no restrictions on college betting, including in-state programs such as the University of Wyoming. The Cowboys football team kicks off its 2021 season Sept. 4.

Olympic betting is also permitted, though no sportsbooks will earn licensure before the 2020 Tokyo games conclude.

Wyoming’s 2021 sports betting law and ensuing regulations explicitly allow sportsbooks to accept cryptocurrency payments. Other approved payment methods include travelers checks and foreign currencies as well as U.S. bank accounts, credit cards and debit cards.

Sportsbooks will be taxed 10 percent gross gaming revenues, below the national average. Operators are restricted from deducting taxes for promotional play.

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What to Expect

Wyoming’s 2021 sports betting law and the ensuing regulations finalized Monday create one of the nation’s more business- and bettor-friendly markets. The state’s small population may still deter market participation.

The nation’s least-populated state may not provide enough potential customers to entice many operators. Colorado is the only neighboring state that allows statewide mobile betting, but Wyoming is still too far from nearly all nearby population centers to attract notable cross-border participation from other states’ residents.

It’s unclear which operators will seek licensure. In a press statement Monday, Caesars did not mention Wyoming among targeted states for sports betting licensure.

Wyoming’s largest national impact may be on future state sports betting structures. Among the first online-only (and crypto-friendly) markets, Wyoming’s launch could guide other rural, western and politically conservative states through a legal sports betting path.

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