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Sports Betting in Wyoming

Wyoming has been anti-gambling throughout its history which is a little strange given a few other facts about the state. For Salt Lake City residents, Evanston, Wyoming long served as an oasis of personal freedom. This is one reason that Wyoming was the last state in the country to raise their drinking age from 18 to 21. The public justification was a ‘rugged anti-Federal attitude’ but a more viable reason was the lucrative liquor sales at stores and bars in border towns like Evanston. That ended in 1988 after Wyoming was strong armed by the government into acquiescing to their demands. Even so, Wyoming remained a source for Utah residents to buy merchandise ranging from adult videos and sexual devices to fireworks.

Gambling is a different matter entirely. The state legalized parimutuel wagering on horse racing in 1967. Unfortunately, by 2010 there was no longer any live racing in the state. The horse racing industry is trying to mount a comeback and now offers a limited number of live racing dates. There are now eight simulcast wagering facilities across the state complete with historical racing based gaming devices. Wyoming authorized a state lottery in 2013 but currently offers only draw games including Mega Millions and Powerball.

The low point of Wyoming’s anti-gambling stance came after the 1988 Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The state tried to illegally deny Wyoming Native American tribes their right to offer casino gambling on their land by refusing to enter into compact negotiations. The tribes would eventually prevail though it took 10 years of legal battles until a Federal Court of Appeals granted the Arapaho tribes the right to run a full range of casino games on their land. Compacts were negotiated in 2006 and today there are four tribal casinos in the state offering slots, table games and live poker.

Otherwise with the exception of low stake charity bingo and raffles there is no other gambling legal in Wyoming. Given the state’s history of opposing the expansion of gambling and rancorous relationship with their Native American tribes it’s difficult to see Wyoming adding sports betting anytime in the near future.

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