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Wyoming is not a very populous state and one that manages to avoid major headlines more often than not. When it comes to casinos and casino-style gambling, Wyoming is one of the more restrictive of the 50 states. With that being said, we have recently witnessed a changing of the tides, so to speak. Though comparatively still fairly strict, Wyoming has more gambling options now than it ever has in its history.
As we look ahead to the future, folks are optimistic that the state’s shrinking revenues will lead lawmakers in a direction that sees more brick and mortar casinos established. For now, however, Wyoming seems to be in no rush to change their state laws regarding gambling. Even when a lawmaker or group of lawmakers does propose a change to state statutes they are typically met with a lot of opposition. Until this changes, Wyoming will be considered by most to be anti-casino.
Wind River Casino
Little Wind Casino
Shoshone Rose Casino
Wyoming has three tribal casinos: Wind River, Little Wind, and Shoshone Rose. Other than that, the Equality State offers pari-mutuel wagering and some limited charity gambling. Unfortunately, the state doesn’t have any commercial gambling establishments. In addition, it’s worth pointing out that Wyoming doesn’t have its own lottery, which is somewhat surprising for a state with middle-of-the-road gambling laws. Wyoming lawmakers haven’t passed any iGaming regulations so far and are quite unlikely to do that in the foreseeable future, so most of the local gamblers simply play on offshore sites.
With just under 600,000 residents, Wyoming is America’s least populous state, and it’s also sparse in casino gaming options. Class III gaming licenses are available for local native tribes, although the permitted table games are restricted to blackjack, roulette, and poker.
However, with few regular patrons, only four such casinos have been built – all on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County – and they are not nearly as large compared to what you can find in other parts of the country.
Commercial casinos in Wyoming are prohibited by law. Because none of the above casinos serve alcohol, the minimum age requirement for players is 18 years old.
Online casinos are not explicitly illegal in Wyoming, but general state laws prohibiting gambling cover “games of chance,” which lawmakers have argued extend to internet gambling.
The Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 paved the way for casinos in Wyoming and other states with large Native American populations. In essence, the Act states that it is within the scope of Federal law for tribes to offer casino games so long as the state in which they are located approves. In Wyoming, the state and Native Americans went a long time without coming to an agreement, but that has recently changed.
Wyoming does not currently allow sports betting. However, following the Supreme Court’s decision to put the legality of sports wagering back into the hands of the states, at least one state senator, Drew Perkins of Natrona County, believes the matter should be discussed:
“I think looking at potentially putting together a gaming commission. What is going on in Wyoming? How much gambling is happening? Is there revenue that should be coming to the state because of that? I think that is the one thing that can be looked at and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.”
Looking at the possibility of putting together a gaming commission is a far cry from proposing legislation for the 2019 session. Sports wagering is expected to remain illegal for the foreseeable future.
Like in many other states, daily fantasy sports in Wyoming exist in a legal gray area. There are no laws that prohibit it, but there are also none that make it legal or address the regulation of this industry.
Most legal experts treat Wyoming’s “predominance test” as tacit approval of DFS, which requires player skill as opposed to being based on chance. As a result, many DFS operators are active and available to Wyoming residents.
There has been talk of liberalizing Wyoming’s gambling laws and addressing the DFS question, mostly due to the need for regulation. However, no legislation has yet been introduced, and none is in the works at this time.
Outside of an eSport club at the University of Wyoming, the Cowboy State isn’t exactly embracing the 21st-century world of eSports. It remains illegal to gamble on eSports, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
Horse racing is legal in Wyoming and can be seen live at three venues in the state with a schedule that extends beyond 30 days.
Off-track betting is also available in Wyoming, and simulcast wagering can be done from around the country. Along with the OTB at Wyoming Downs, there are six OTB locations operated by Horse Palace in the following cities:
You must be at least 18 years old to place a pari-mutuel wager in Wyoming.
There is no live greyhound racing in Wyoming, but you can place simulcast wagers on races taking place in other parts of the country.
Along with the Wind River Casino that offers regular poker tournaments, there are a handful of bars and poker rooms in Laramie that host games. The poker room at the Wind River Casino is unquestionably legal, while the rooms in Laramie have so far avoided run-ins with the law because no one makes a profit off the games. In reality, these rooms exist in another legal gray area.
That gray area is in the Wyoming law that allows private poker games as long as the players have a “bona fide social relationship” outside the poker room. What exactly defines that relationship, how deep it must go, and how long players must know each other before playing poker together is all undefined.
Professional poker players are also prohibited from participating in “social” poker games.
You must be at least 18 to play.
Online poker is illegal.
Wyoming is home to one of the newest lotteries in America, with its first ticket sold in 2013. The Wyoming Lottery does not offer scratch-off games as they are prohibited by law, but the following draw games are available:
Winners of $600 or more must submit a Winner Claim Form and attach a copy of their social security number and driver’s license.
Individuals must be at least 18 years old to participate.
Along with the bingo hall at the 789 Casino in Riverton, charitable bingo in Wyoming is permitted as long as the organization that holds the license has been in the state for at least three years. These nonprofits must operate under the following regulations:
You can find bingo games in the following Wyoming cities:
All players must be at least 18 years old.
While most states see their casino and gambling histories extend back into the early 19th century, Wyoming saw most of its history be formed somewhat recently. Pari-mutuel gambling and other bingo/raffle games have been legal for a long time, but it was until recently that casino-style gambling came to be.
In the early 1990s, following the passing of the aforementioned Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Native American tribes in Wyoming immediately began petitioning the state government to allow them to operate casinos. Right off the bat, the state not only did not come to an agreement with tribes, they flat-out refused to even take part in the negotiation process. As a result, Wyoming’s Northern Arapaho tribe took the state to court. For the next 10+ years, an intense and seemingly never-ending court battle ensued. Eventually, in 2005, the tribes won and it was determined that they were, indeed, able to offer casino games. Two tribes signed compacts with the state, and to this day those are the only two tribes able to offer casino gambling.
Apart from the handful of Native American casinos, there really aren’t many options for fans of casino games. To put in perspective just how far behind the rest of the country Wyoming is with regard to gambling, their state lottery was only instituted in 2014. So, while many people would like to see that state become more accommodative to proponents of casinos, the reality is that this is not going to happen anytime soon. Luckily for those living near the state border, neighboring states do offer casino games.