Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Monday became the first governor to legalize sports betting in his state in 2021, when he signed HB 133, his office confirmed. The new Wyoming law allows for statewide mobile wagering only and does not allow for retail sportsbooks.
The only other state with a similar setup is Tennessee, which legalized in 2019 and where operators went live on Nov. 1, 2020.
It is probably not unreasonable to expect wagering in Wyoming sometime during football season — the new law calls for the Wyoming Gaming Commission to promulgate rules by Sept. 1, which is among the more aggressive timelines of any new wagering law in the U.S.
When Virginia lawmakers legalized in April 2020, the law required rules approval by Sept. 15, 2020, which was about a five-month runway. And when Colorado voters approved sports betting in November 2019, the referendum mandated that wagering be live by May 1, 2020, giving regulators there a six-month window.
Tax rate set at 10%, legal age at 18
Wyoming sports betting law also contains language confirming the legality of paid fantasy sports contests. That's the 24th state (+ Puerto Rico) to pass a law confirming legality or enabling paid fantasy sports contests. https://t.co/yUQq79woMW
— Peter Schoenke (@PeterSchoenke) April 6, 2021
So far, Iowa is the fastest from newly legal to live sports betting — lawmakers there legalized on May 13, 2019, and the first bet was taken three months later on Aug. 15. But regulators in most states take approximately one year to promulgate rules, approve applications, and launch operators to go live.
The new law allows for wagering on professional, college, and Olympic sports and sets a 10% tax on gross gaming revenue. Wyoming is also just the fourth state and fifth jurisdiction to establish the legal wagering age at 18 along with Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia.
Though Wyoming is a small state in terms of population (582,328 as of 2020), operators will likely embrace the state for its open, competitive marketplace. The new law requires that a minimum of five licenses be issued, but it does not set a maximum. The $25,000 application fee and $100,000 license fee (for five years) are among the lowest in the country.
Among Wyoming’s border states, Colorado has live, legal statewide mobile wagering and Montana offers wagering via kiosk at thousands of lottery locations throughout the state. South Dakota voters legalized via referendum last November, and Gov. Kristi Noem signed a framework bill into law in March. The goal there is to offer legal wagering — which will be retail only — by Sept. 1.
Nebraska lawmakers are in the process of setting a framework after it was determined that a November 2020 voter referendum includes sports betting.