BetMGM and DraftKings were the first digital sports betting platforms to go live in Wyoming today after getting approval from the Wyoming Gaming Commission at a special meeting. The regulator announced at the end of the meeting that the platforms could launch after the meeting ended, at approximately 2 p.m. MT, and both launched before 5 p.m. local time.
The launch will be the second in a new market — both Michigan and Virginia launched retail wagering in 2020 and digital in January 2021 — this year. Two North Carolina tribes began accepting the first sports bets in that state in March.
Wyoming is one of a handful of states that has been racing to launch on or before the start of the NFL season on Sept. 9. Arizona regulators are pointing to a Sept. 9 launch date and last week announced they had approved 18 operators, and South Dakota is expected to go live with retail wagering in the next week or so. Regulators in Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, and Washington state are all hoping to launch operators before the end of the year. Nine states currently have legal, but not live sports betting.
More operators to come
Earlier this year, legal sports betting looked dead in Wyoming until lawmakers made a U-turn, making it the second state in the union to legalize digital-only wagering. Tennessee was the first. Wyoming’s open, competitive marketplace is modeled after neighboring Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee, and lawmakers mandated that a minimum of five platforms be up and running. The WGC told Sports Handle earlier this summer that it has had interest from multiple operators, but as of now, only BetMGM and DraftKings are far enough down the road for approval.
“We’re ecstatic that BetMGM is one of the first mobile sports betting platforms to launch in Wyoming, just in time for the start of the football season,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt via press release. “Wyoming is an important state for us as we continue to expand BetMGM’s footprint in the West. We’re confident that its sports fans will enjoy the BetMGM experience.”
DraftKings is running multiple specials around the Wyoming launch, including two “Double Your Money” opportunities, one on the Colorado Rockies getting a hit and another for the University of Wyoming Cowboys scoring a point in their Sept. 4 home opener.
DraftKings is also hosting an earth-themed free-to-play pool for Wyoming customers. The company had pledged to plant one million trees by Earth Day next year, and every entry equals one tree planted.
“We are thrilled that Wyoming sports bettors have the opportunity to experience the highly accessible and immersive fan experience along with best in class consumer protections that our product offers millions of skin-in-the-game sports fans,” DraftKings co-founder and president Matt Kalish said via press release.
Among the other operators that participated in stakeholder meetings and could file applications are FanDuel, Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sportsbook, PointsBet, and SuperBook Sports. All four, in addition to BetMGM and DraftKings, are also live in Colorado.
Operators paid a $100,000 initial licensing fee (good for five years) and will then pay a $50,000 annual renewal to operate in the state. Operators will be taxed at 10% of gross gaming revenue, and consumers can wager on professional, college, and amateur sports.
The new law requires that sports betting be live on Sept. 1, leaving the regulator and operators only a few hours after the meeting to “flip the switch” to meet the deadline.
With a population of just under 600,000, Wyoming is the smallest state in the nation and therefore the smallest to legalize sports betting. The next smallest states with live sports betting are Delaware, Rhode Island, and Montana. Wyoming has no professional sports teams.