Wyoming online-gambling bill fizzles

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: February 20, 2024 09:27 PST

A recently introduced measure in Wyoming that sought to authorize and regulate various casino-style forms of online gambling, including online poker, has been dropped from further consideration during its introductory phase.

Wyoming House Bill 0120 faltered during an introductory vote on a 25-36 vote, with one abstention. HB0120 needed to receive at least two thirds of members' votes, or 42 of 62 present members, to clear the introductory hurdle, which is designed to winnow out bills that lack strong initial backing.

The early defeat means that HB0120 expired as active legislation less than two weeks after being introduced. The bill was filed by four Republican House members, Representatives Jon Conrad, Robert Davis, Sandy Newsome, and Tom Walters.

State gaming commission argued that proposal was too early for Wyoming

Rep. Davis, one of BB0120's four sponsors, previously served as the chair of the Wyoming Gaming Commission, which would be the agency charged with administrative oversight for any legalized Wyoming online gambling.

Davis touted the bill's benefits before the introductory vote, saying, "This bill does several important things. It begins to eradicate the illegal iGaming market right here in Wyoming. That activity is taking place without any protections for our citizens who are playing these games. If we can install the guardrails to do this, it will roll out just like our sports wagering has.”

However, according to another Wyoming House representative, John Winter, the Wyoming Gaming Commission had stated that the commission wasn't supportive of the bill's purposes at this time. Wyoming approved online sports betting in 2021, due to greater consumer demand compared to online casino-style gaming. HB0120's early setback means the topic is unlikely to resurface until 2025 at the earliest.