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
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.
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.