Usually, when it comes to the 18 and up gambling crowd, all the progress being made in various states regarding domestic online casinos and sportsbooks is more or less a moot point.
All five states that host domestic iGaming – Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – require participating players to be 21 and up to play online casino games.
And of the 20+ states that have legalized local sports wagering within their borders to date, only Montana, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island allow residents between the ages of 18 and 20 to sign up and bet real money on their favorite players and teams.
The upshot, then, is simply this:
If you’re a legal adult in the USA but are under 21 years old, you have almost no legitimate local gaming options available to you.
And, to make matters more annoying, that’s not likely to change very soon.
But honestly, that’s not so bad.
After all, there are several highly reputable betting services out there that will accept members at just 18 and up, and these 18+ gambling sites are legal and safe to use for USA players.
So in most cases, for most players, it is irrelevant whether or not their states actually support a domestic gambling market. And it’s doubly irrelevant what their minimum gambling ages are.
That said, we are always refreshed when a state – by some miraculous accident of nature – manages to get things right and offers their residents what they actually want.
One such state – arguably the very best state in America – is Wyoming.
Though not known for its domestic gambling industry, Wyoming is looking to “get off the reservation” with some new legislation aimed at legalizing online sports betting.
But while most states are similarly considering the legalization of sports betting within their borders, WY is actually upping the ante by proffering a few unusual and customer-friendly ideas.
Basically, the just-submitted Wyoming House Bill 0133 would establish a new industry around 18+ online sports betting. And there’s a good chance for at least part of the proposal to gain significant traction, if not all of the bill in its entirety.
This is because HB0133, while mostly crafted by Republicans, is technically bipartisan. The bill is cosponsored by the following pols:
- Rep. Tom Walters (R)
- Rep. Landon Brown (R)
- Rep. Donald Burkhart, Jr. (R)
- Rep. Steve Harshman (R)
- Rep. Bill Henderson (R)
- Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R)
- Sen. Mike Gierau (D)
- Sen. Jeff Wasserburger (R)
Here’s what HB0133, simply dubbed “Online sports wagering,” would do:
- Legalize 18 and up online sports betting
- Grant the Wyoming Gaming Commission oversight of sports wagering
- Impose sports betting license fees and taxes (TBD)
- Set the framework for sports betting rules and regulations
- Specify that DFS is not gambling by definition
Should HB0133 become law, the biggest benefits to WY residents would be twofold.
First off, the bill would obviously legalize online sports betting and make it accessible to those aged 18 and older.
Secondly, the bill would clarify that daily fantasy sports (DFS) do not constitute illegal gambling in the state.
Despite the fact that the largest DFS operators already do business in WY, this would allow for wide-ranging promotion of the industry inside Wyoming borders, and it would clear up any misconceptions about the legality of DFS in state.
Of course, while DFS is all well and good, we’re far more interested in single-game sports betting.
To that end, this bill – in making the market accessible to 18+ bettors – is exceedingly exciting.
But that’s not the only exciting aspect involved, as HB0133 has a few hidden gems when it comes to sports wagering.
These elements are completely unique when assessed as a package, and if passed into law, they would represent the most exciting new approach to domestic sports betting since PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018.
The most interesting takeaways about the Wyoming sports betting proposal – aside from section 9-24-105 limiting the age of participation to 18 years old and up – are in its various definitions:
(I) Cash Equivalent – “means an asset that is convertible to cash and approved for use in connection with online sports wagering. Approved cash equivalents include: (A) Travelers checks; (B) Foreign currency and coin; (C) Certified checks, cashier’s checks and money orders; (D) Personal checks and drafts; (E) Digital, crypto and virtual currencies; (F) Online and mobile payment systems that support online money transfers; (G) Credit cards and debit cards; (H) Prepaid access instruments; (J) Any other form of asset that is convertible to cash approved by commission rules.”
(X) Sporting Event – “any professional sports event or athletic event, any Olympic or international sports event or athletic event, any amateur sports event or athletic event, any collegiate sports event or athletic event, electronic sports, or any portion thereof, including the individual performance statistics of contestants or athletes in sports events, athletic events or a combination of sports and athletic events, or any other event approved by commission rules.”
(XI) Sports Wagering – “the business of placing and accepting wagers on sporting events through online sports wagering. “Sports wagering” wagers include single game bets, teaser bets, parlays, over‑under, moneyline, pools, exchange wagering, in‑game wagering, in‑play bets, proposition bets and straight bets.”
What the above means is simply that under the current version of WY-HB0133, players aged 18 and up would be able to bet on almost every organized professional and amateur sporting event where contestants are themselves 18 or older.
This includes eSports betting, which most states specifically exempt from gambling authorization.
Given that eSports is the fastest growing form of organized competition in the world as well as the fastest growing betting market on earth, this would be a major coup for WY should the state’s representatives and senators manage to keep eSports betting as part of the package all the way through.
That’s by no means guaranteed, but we’re hopeful that WY will become one of the first states to formally legalize betting on eSports entertainment.
Additionally, you’ll notice that the bill allows for every kind of common and exotic sports wager to be placed.
There is some risk that the specific nature of the bill’s language might limit future innovations when it comes to approved bet types, but this tack seems to have most – if not all – foreseeable bases covered.
Most interesting, however, is that WY also seems primed to become the first state to accept cryptocurrencies for betting purposes.
Right now, no US state allows crypto betting, which is a problem for those economies trying to attract members back from legal offshore gambling sites that do allow for Bitcoin betting, Bitcoin Cash betting, Litecoin betting, etc.
Though it’s obviously too early to tell whether or not HB0133 will make it through the Wyoming house and senate to become law – and how much of its original language will remain intact – it is encouraging to see that at least one US state actually gets it.
And it’s fitting that it’d be the Equality State that finally crafts legislation to put domestic betting on equal footing with legal offshore gambling sites.
For sports betting, at least.
Source: Wyoming State Legislature