It’s time for us to roll dice on sports betting

COVID-19 has created massive challenges to overcome for Converse County and the State of Wyoming. Chief among these is the potential pitfalls in tax revenue due to businesses shuttering their doors for such an extended amount of time and the mass exodus of energy workers. As of a week ago there was only one active oil rig in the entire state.

Now is the perfect time for Wyoming to be searching for new ways to generate tax dollars. Legalizing sports gambling is the perfect way to mitigate the negative impacts from the coronavirus and establish a permanent stream of cash into state coffers. 

As of May 2020, 22 states and Washington D.C. have legalized sports gambling since the Supreme Court shot down the federal ban in 2018. Another 18 states are projected to embrace sports betting by the end of 2021, with Wyoming being one of 10 states that will not have legalized it in that time frame, according to Darren Rovell and

Since the ban was lifted, states have made more than $220 million in tax revenues, with the numbers only expected to increase as the years go on and the stigma associated with gambling deteriorates. 

The site shows no confidence in Wyoming allowing sports betting before 2022, despite a bill to legalize proposed by Wyoming House Representative Tom Walters failing by a margin of just five votes earlier this year. 

The bill would have legalized gambling through mobile and online platforms and was supported by DraftKings and Fanduel, two giants in the industry. 

The ideal scenario would be to not only legalize it through online and mobile platforms, virtually giving those sites a monopoly, but to be pioneers in the country and legalize it in every form. 

As of now, most states have a system of either only allowing bets to be made at physical sportsbooks or online. 

Instead of following this American model, Wyoming should look to the United Kingdom.

The UK allows gambling through privately owned betting shops owned by licensed bookmakers. This not only creates the tax revenue that will benefit the state, but opens up the opportunity for small business owners to enjoy the profits that most states only allow casinos and online sites to benefit from.

The revenue stream would be a welcome sight for Wyoming, as the state generated the second lowest tax revenue in the nation in 2018, ahead of only Vermont. This is a perfect way to give those numbers a boost without raising taxes on residents or local businesses. When passing the law, giving significant portions of the money earned to funding for education, historic preservation or bolstering state law enforcement could be written into the bill. It’s a win-win. 

More importantly, it’s a question of civil liberties. 

You may feel that gambling is unethical or see it as a vice, but that’s no different than tobacco or alcohol, and it’s your right not to partake in such activities, but that is not a reason to stop others from doing so. 

It is my opinion that the government has no place telling private citizens what they are allowed to do with their hard earned money, as long as it doesn’t impede on their fellow citizen’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  

People are gambling anyway, we might as well put that money to good use.


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