After voting against a bill to legalize online sports betting in the state, the Wyoming House of Representatives had a change of heart. A reconsideration vote took place after the vote against and now, it seems the representatives of the state have passed the bill.
House Bill 133 was just introduced in the state and would provide individuals in the state to wager on professional sports betting via a mobile device, desktop, or application. The sports betting market is estimated to bring as much as $449 million to the state annually. The funds would be very useful, especially after dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill was voted on earlier in the week and saw 28 in favor while 32 were against it. Many members of the House were concerned with problem gambling issues. Members felt that the industry has the potential to damage lives and families.
There were also issues surrounding the bill based on where the tax revenues would be allocated. The Wyoming measure placed money in the General Fund instead of focusing on education. An amendment was proposed by one House member that would provide funding for the School Foundation Program.
Soon after the initial vote, the House completed the reconsideration vote. Somehow, members were able to change their minds in a short period of time and pass the bill. It is unclear right now as to why the lawmakers in the House decided to revert their original vote and approve the measure.
The Wyoming Gaming Commission will be in charge of the new industry and develop rules in which operators will need to follow after obtaining licensing. The sports betting market would be open to players who are 18 years of age or older. All sports would be open for wagering except on players or teams that are under the age of 18.
What Happens Now?
It was a fourth vote in the House Appropriations Committee that helped the measure to pass. With the reversal, the measure will head to the Senate for consideration. If approved by the Senate, the bill will move on to the desk of Governor Mark Gordon for signing.
It is unclear as to when the Senate will consider the measure. There is no date scheduled for the next hearing. However, Legislature will adjourn on April 2, so there is little time to get things done in this session. It is likely a hearing will take place sooner rather than later.