Wyoming Wins Race for “Next” to Launch Legal Sports Betting Platform

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A bettor hands cash to a teller to place on the first day of legal sports betting. Dominick Reuter/ AFP

The start of the US legal sports betting industry’s bread-and-butter season is quickly approaching, and prospective new legal betting jurisdictions are racing to launch in time to take advantage of the entirety of the NFL campaign. Wyoming, on Wednesday, became the first of a handful of states to kickoff its platform this September, beating a number of other jurisdictions to the launch punch.

The Wyoming Gaming Commission (WGC) beat its deadline for the commencement of their legal sports betting platform by a week. Originally, regulators had aimed for September 8 for the first-day legal bets could be taken in the state, but as of Wednesday and after a special meeting of the WGC, bettors could start placing bets at two high-end approved providers.

About Those Providers

The Wyoming legal sports betting scene welcomed BetMGM and one of the two DFS giants into their unique legal sports betting family on Wednesday. While more operators will be coming to market down the road, the two approved providers were the only ones ready to go for the September launch and the only ones licensed out of the gate.

“We’re ecstatic that BetMGM is one of the first mobile sports betting platforms to launch in Wyoming, just in time for the start of the football season,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt via press release. “Wyoming is an important state for us as we continue to expand BetMGM’s footprint in the West. We’re confident that its sports fans will enjoy the BetMGM experience.”

There is no word yet on which three other providers will gain licenses in Wyoming. The other DFS behemoth, Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sportsbook, PointsBet, and SuperBook Sports are among the books rumored to be in the running for 1 of the 3 remaining licenses.

The Market

Wyoming’s legal sports betting scene is one of only two mobile-only platforms in the country, along with Tennessee. It is the least populated state in the country to launch its sports wagering platform with just 600,000 residents, for which the five providers will be battling for that slim market share. The state has zero professional sports teams but a rabid fanbase as demonstrated with their college teams.

In a clear attempt to broaden the market in Wyoming, state legislators bumped the minimum age for sports betting down to 18, from the customary 21. Cryptocurrency will be accepted at Wyoming sportsbooks, the first market with such a policy, and there will be no restrictions on in-state college sports betting.

Looking Forward

The Wyoming Gaming Commission, in their set of rules, made it so that a minimum of five sportsbooks would be operating in the state. Just two have gone live so far with three more to come. That means a whole lot more competition is coming, once applications are received and ultimately approved. Just when hasn’t been determined.

It was only March that the Wyoming House of Representatives passed House Bill 133 and in April that the state’s Senate took up the subject of legal sports betting and ultimately passed it, and a week later that the governor signed legal sports betting into law. The 45-day consultation period began July 15th, and the final draft of the rules was finalized on August 2nd. So, we know that legislators and regulators are not immune to working fast in the state.

Wyoming is set to break some new ground in the broader US scene with its acceptance of cryptocurrency, their allowing of 18-year-olds to place bets, and their mobile-only platform. While not the biggest market, Wyoming is poised to be one of the most interesting – starting now.