Wyoming sports betting became legal in April 2021, although it will take a few months for the market to launch.
The state will feature mobile sports wagering through multiple operators because there are no commercial casinos in the state. There are four tribal casinos operated by two Native American tribes.
Since those tribes can offer Class III gaming, they also would receive the right to offer sports betting at their casinos.
What’s happening in Wyoming sports betting right now
- June 9, 2021 — The Wyoming Gaming Commission decides on rules after four previous drafts. The rules, as submitted to Gov. Mark Gordon, must now undergo a 45-day public comment period. The WGC remains noncommittal about a timeline for the first license approvals, but Gordon’s desired timeframe for a September 2021 launch remains in hand after the WGC managed to push through the rulemaking as quickly as it did.
- April 6, 2021 — Sports betting becomes legal in Wyoming after Gov. Gordon signs HB133 into law. Wyoming becomes the second state with only online sports betting, joining Tennessee. However, it is likely that the tribal casinos in western Wyoming will open retail sportsbooks. In addition to legalizing online sports betting, the law also formally authorizes Wyoming residents to play daily fantasy sports contests.
- March 29, 2021 — HB133, a bill to allow for online sports betting in Wyoming, passes the Wyoming Senate by a vote of 24-5, with one abstention. The bill now moves to Gov. Mark Gordon for his signature. The decisive vote in the Senate stands in stark contrast to the rather contentious passage in the House. However, there were no major objections in the upper chamber, and the only amendments were tweaks to the license application process.
- March 10, 2021 — In an unusual twist, the Wyoming House of Representatives reconsiders and passes a sports betting bill that the body rejected a day earlier. HB133 moves onto the Wyoming Senate after passing the lower chamber by a vote of 32-28. Ironically, House members had failed the measure by the exact same vote, 32-28, on March 9, over concerns about the bill’s treatment of Wyoming’s Native American tribes.
- Oct. 22, 2020 — One of Wyoming’s federally recognized Native American tribes, the Northern Arapaho, announces plans to open a retail sportsbook in at least one of its casinos in western Wyoming. The announcement comes despite the fact that no legislation to allow sports betting exists in the Equality State at the moment.
- Feb. 28, 2020 — A bill to allow online sports betting in Wyoming fails after a close 32-27 vote in the Wyoming House of Representatives. The bill, HB225, called for an online-only system with an unlimited number of sportsbook operators and a 16% tax rate. The measure, authored by Rep. Tom Walters, would’ve allowed sports betting to proceed at the beginning of 2021.
Is sports betting legal in Wyoming?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Wyoming. Legislators passed a bill to create legal WY sports betting in 2021 and Gov. Mark Gordon signed it into law. It will still be a few months until the market launches, however, as rules and regulations must be set up.
If all goes according to plan, Wyoming sportsbooks could launch before the beginning of the NFL season in September 2021.
The status of Wyoming sports betting
Wyoming sports betting remains in a holding pattern after state legislators and the governor gave their go-ahead in spring 2021. This is because rules and regulations to govern how sportsbooks in Wyoming operate still must be approved before anyone can begin legal wagering.
Those rules received an initial review and will enter a public comment phase that will last through most of the summer. That review period still keeps Wyoming on target to launch this fall.
Sportsbook options should be plentiful in the state. Wyoming set a 10% tax on sports betting revenue and will run a mobile-only market, both choices that invite operators to launch with low costs and ongoing overhead.
Only sportsbooks operating in at least three other states will qualify to apply.
When will online sports betting launch in Wyoming?
The Wyoming Gaming Commission is working on rules with an expedited timeline to launch Wyoming sports betting by Sept. 1. The WY sports betting market will feature well-known operators as well. BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings all participated in the rule-making process.
Wyoming sportsbooks will be entirely mobile with the exception of any tribal casinos that choose to offer the amenity.
Recent Wyoming sports betting stories
Wyoming sports betting law
The law passed to create legal sports betting in Wyoming creates an industry-friendly market that likely will invite competition from the biggest names in the US industry.
State law requires that regulators hand out at least five WY sports betting licenses. There is no established cap, though, leaving open the possibility of more.
Operators will pay $100,000 for an initial five-year license and a $50,000 renewal fee when due. Sports betting revenue in Wyoming will be taxed at 10% on gross proceeds. The first $300,000 annually is targeted to gambling addiction treatment.
Wyoming sports betting bills
2021: HB 133 created the Wyoming sports betting market.
2020: Legislators attempted to move two bills related to gaming in Wyoming but neither advanced beyond the committee stage:
Legal betting options in Wyoming
Sportsbooks in Wyoming eventually should present bettors with a variety of popular brands when they begin offering markets in 2021. For now, though, the wait remains.
Just one of its border states, Colorado, launched mobile sports betting in May 2020. That doesn’t mean people are skipping sports betting in the state, however. It just isn’t through legal channels.
There are offshore sportsbook websites and apps that advertise they can take bets from anywhere in the United States, including Wyoming.
But it’s illegal for those sportsbooks to accept those bets. There are no gambling organizations that are licensed at a federal level in the United States. It’s up to regulators in individual states and jurisdictions to decide who can operate under their supervision.
Betting with those sportsbook operators also leaves the bettor with no consumer protections. Those sportsbooks could choose not to pay out winning bets or could close their operations without returning customer funds.
How does Wyoming compare to Colorado sports betting?
Wyoming’s neighbor to the south launched one of the more robust sports betting markets in the country in 2020. Colorado sports betting features a high rate of mobile sportsbook usage and a regulatory structure that encourages broad participation.
Colorado law allows for nearly three dozen legal sportsbooks. Wyoming law requires that at least five sports betting licenses are issued, but does not set a cap on how many can be given out.
The CO sports betting market launched into the coronavirus pandemic when the sports calendar sat empty. Even with that challenge, Colorado sportsbooks took $2.3 billion in wagers in the state’s first year. Wyoming likely will not generate nearly that amount of handle with the nation’s smallest population.
Colorado’s market features both major industry players and smaller regional sportsbooks. State casinos are allowed to partner with sportsbooks to offer mobile sports betting anywhere within the Centennial State.
Most popular sports to bet on in Wyoming
Wyoming is a beautiful state known for its outdoor activities, but it’s seriously lacking when it comes to sports entertainment.
It’s likely football would be the most popular sport, given it is in most states in the US. But it’s hard to nail down a favorite team that could get the support of locals.
There are no professional teams in Wyoming. And, outside of the four major sports teams in Colorado (the MLB‘s Colorado Rockies, the NBA‘s Denver Nuggets, the NHL‘s Colorado Avalanche and the NFL‘s Denver Broncos) only one of its other five border states has a professional team (the NBA’s Utah Jazz).
The University of Wyoming does have Division I sports programs in the Mountain West Conference. The bill filed in 2020 would have banned betting on any local colleges or any collegiate event played in Wyoming.
Wyoming and Daily Fantasy Sports
Wyoming is one of the many states in the US that does not outlaw daily fantasy sports, but there’s no law regulating the contests, either.
Is horse racing legal in Wyoming?
Yes, horse racing is legal in Wyoming. There are three tracks that offer live racing:
- Energy Downs in Gillette, operated by Wyoming Horse Racing
- Sweetwater Events in Rock Springs, operated by Wyoming Horse Racing
- Wyoming Downs Racetrack in Evanston, operated by Wyoming Downs
In addition, betting on horse racing is also legal in Wyoming.
There are 12 off-track betting facilities throughout the state. Wyoming Downs operates seven of those facilities while Wyoming Horse Racing operates five.
Another option for betting on horse racing is through advance deposit wagering operators. These let bettors place horse racing bets on their desktop or mobile devices.
Some of the biggest ADW operators, including BetAmerica, TVG and Twinspires, all operate in Wyoming.
Historic horse racing machines, which look like slot machines but actually pay out based on previously-run horse races, are also legal in the state.
Wyoming sports betting timeline
2021: Rep. Tom Walters made another push for legal sports betting with HB 133. Initially, the House voted the bill down, but reconsidered it a day later and passed it.
The legislation became one of the surprises of the 2021 legislative session. It passed the Senate easily before heading to Gov. Mark Gordon, who signed it into law in April.
2020: Rep. Tom Walters and Sen. Ogden Driskill sponsored H 225, which would have legalized sports betting on mobile devices and online, to the House in mid-February.
It was killed on the House floor by a 27-32 vote just 16 days later.
The bill would have legalized an unlimited number of sports betting licenses at a $20,000 initial cost and a $10,000 annual renewal fee. Sports betting revenue would have been taxed at 16%.
Walters told Legal Sports Report he wasn’t sure how the vote would turn out as there were some voters on the fence of whether to vote for or against the bill. Five of those voters, he said, eventually voted no.
The appetite for expanded gambling wasn’t there this year, but the close vote suggests another effort could turn out differently in 2021, as it ultimately did.
Wyoming sports betting FAQ
Where can I bet on sports?
Soon there will be multiple legal mobile apps for sports betting in Wyoming but those have not launched yet. There are currently no legal options to bet anywhere in the state of Wyoming.
Can I bet on sports on my phone?
You will be able to bet legally on sports from your phone starting later in 2021. Today, though, there are no legal options to place bets on a phone from Wyoming.
There are sports betting operators that will say they can accept bets on their websites or apps from people anywhere in the United States, including Wyoming.
That’s just not true. It’s illegal for these sportsbooks, called offshore operators because they are not licensed in the US, to accept bets from anywhere in the United States.
Anyone betting with these websites or apps will also have no consumer protection to help them should an issue arise. This means that if the sportsbook operator chooses not to pay out a bet or closes the sportsbook without returning customer funds, there’s no legal recourse for any bettor involved to get their money.
Can I use Colorado sportsbook apps in Wyoming?
No, Colorado sports betting apps will not work in Wyoming. Each state that offers mobile sports betting requires geolocation technology to verify the bettor is located within the state at the time of the wager. This is to satisfy federal regulation by the Wire Act.
You will be able to have an account in both Colorado and Wyoming if you want, however. You might need to download a different app to wager in either state.