In the western American state of Wyoming and legislation that had sought to legalize online sportsbetting and daily fantasy sports contests was reportedly defeated yesterday following a third reading before the Wyoming House of Representatives.
According to a Tuesday report from Oil City News, House Bill 133 was only introduced at the start of the month in an attempt to give residents of ‘The Equality State’ the ability to remotely wager on a wide variety of professional sporting contests including those from the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The legislation was reportedly proposed by Representatives Landon Brown, Donald Burkhart, Steve Harshman (pictured), William Henderson, Tom Walters and Dan Zwonitzer in partnership with Wyoming State Senators Jeff Wasserburger and Michael Gierau as part of an effort to cash in on a local sportsbetting market that many industry experts estimate could be worth up to $449 million a year. The measure would have purportedly given the Wyoming Gaming Commission permission to license remote operators so long as these firms agreed to hand over 10% of their monthly local revenues in tax.
However, the source reported that House Bill 133 was defeated by a close margin of 28 to 32 in the Republican-dominated Wyoming House of Representatives on Tuesday after many members of the 60-seat body had expressed concerns over issues dealing with problem gambling. One of these, Representative Evan Simpson, purportedly declared that sportsbetting ‘has the potential of destroying a lot of lives’ and that passing the legislation would ‘damage lives and damage families.’
Simpson reportedly declared…
“Addictions are real and they will happen if we pass this bill. Betting on sporting events is not an activity that doesn’t have consequences for others.”
Oil City News reported that House Bill 133 furthermore became the target of criticism because it was to have directed any tax revenues collected from online sports betting to the state’s general fund rather than towards its struggling educational system. In response and Harshman purportedly proposed inserting an amendment that would have earmarked such proceeds for the School Foundation Program account so as to help solve a structural deficit in local education funding.
There were still other members of the Wyoming House of Representatives that reportedly disparaged the legislation due to an earlier amendment that was to have seen the state set aside $300,000 every year for the support of anti-problem gambling programs. Representative Chip Neiman was purportedly in this group and described the proposed measure ‘yet another opportunity to make money’ for things for which he did not agree.
Neiman reportedly proclaimed…
“Make your money. But leave me out of it.”
Over twelve states have so far legalized some form of sportsbetting following the 2018 invalidation by the United States Supreme Court of the previous prohibition tied to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). One of these, Wyoming neighbor Colorado, recorded handle of over $1.1 billion last year including some $284 million in December alone to enrich its tax coffers by almost $3.42 million.