Given a Sept. 1 deadline to get rules approved for its new digital-only sports betting law, the Wyoming Gaming Commission released its first phase of proposed rules and at 9 a.m. Tuesday will hold a virtual stakeholder session to get input.
The rules closely mirror the new sports betting law. No application process is laid out in the draft, though it is not unusual for states to roll out rules in phases.
As is written into the law, the legal wagering age is 18, operators will be taxed at 10% of gross gaming revenue, and sports wagering will be permitting on professional, college, and Olympic sports. There are no payouts to the professional sports leagues and there is no official league data mandate. The new law requires that a minimum of five mobile sports wagering permits be authorized.
The new law requires “a qualified gaming entity” to pay $2,500 and fill out a universal application form for a sports betting operator permit. A qualified gaming entity is defined as digital platform that is active in no less than three states. Wyoming sports betting law then requires a $100,000 license fee (good for five years) with a $50,000 renewal fee. The law seems to imply that no “new” operators will be permitted in Wyoming, only companies that already have live platforms in other U.S. states or jurisdictions, and that those operators will pay the $2,500 application fee up front, followed by the licensing fee. The $2,500 application fee would be among the lowest in the country.
A few items of interest
Among the most noteworthy parts of the new law and draft rules are that bettors will be able to fund accounts with cryptocurrency. The regulations list nine ways (other than cash) that accounts could be funded: travelers checks, foreign currency and coin, certified checks/cashier’s checks/money orders, personal checks, online and mobile payment systems with EFT, credit and debit cards, pre-paid access cards, promotional credit, and winnings.
Some key points that might catch stakeholders’ eyes:
- Operators are required to have a reserve account, which in and of itself is the norm, but the regulations require that account be in a Wyoming bank or “at minimum” a bank chartered by the state of Wyoming. There are approximately 61 FDIC-insurance banks and credit unions in Wyoming, and most are regional or local vs. national chains.
- The state will geofence around its five Indian reservations, unless a tribe specifically asks not to be geofenced. What this means is that anyone on a reservation won’t have access to mobile wagering. Four tribal casinos currently operate in Wyoming.
- Proxy betting is explicitly prohibited.
The rules also touch on responsible gambling. They require the option to allow bettors to self-exclude; prohibit deceptive ads; and require the phrase “minors are not allowed to open or have access to sports wagering accounts” to be included in all advertising. Neither the law nor the regulations indicate how much — if any — money will be earmarked to fund problem gaming initiatives.