March 10, 2021 Sports Betting, Tribal, Legal

Wyoming House votes down online sports betting bill

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The Wyoming House of Representatives has halted a bill that sought to legalize sports betting in the state.

Lawmakers voted against Bill 133 on a third reading voting of 28-32 on Tuesday 9 March. Had it passed, the legislation would have legalized online sports betting and fantasy sports contests in the Equality State.

Proponents of legalizing sports wagering had estimated that the regulated market in Wyoming could be as large as $449m, and in turn provide much-needed tax dollars to state coffers.

House Majority Whip Jared Olsen read from the Wyoming Constitution in support of legalization, claiming it was not the remit of Representatives to encroach on the personal freedoms of their constituents.

Marshall Burt was another in favour of the bill a and said: “If someone wants to gamble on a sports game, why is that our choice to decide whether or not they can or cannot do that?”

Opposition centred around tired problem gambling tropes, as is an unfortunate norm in many regions.

“This particular fun activity has the potential of destroying a lot of lives,” Representative Evan Simpson said. “Addictions are real and they will happen if we pass this bill. Betting on sporting events is not an activity that doesn’t have consequences for others. It will damage lives and damage families.”

There had also been opposition to legalizing sports wagering state-wide from Wyoming’s tribal operators. It is understood that while representatives of the Northern Arapaho nation had been involved in discussing the legislation, those from the Eastern Shoshone tribe had not.

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