Wyoming’s Leaders Are Discussing the Creation of a State Gaming Commission

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Shoshone Rose Casino Is One of Several Tribal Casinos in the States

Wyoming’s lawmakers are studying whether the state should create a gambling commission to oversee expansion plans in the state, according to the Casper Star Tribune. Wyoming is joining the gaming industry late, so it lacks many of the instruments that other states have had for decades.

In 2014, Wyoming launched a state lottery. Vendors across the state now sell Mega Millions, Powerball, and Cowboy Draw tickets. Now the lottery is expending into other forms of gambling and many normally regulation-averse leaders want more regulatory oversight. A gaming commission might not wield tremendous oversight in legislation, but it could make recommendations and set the agenda for whatever legislation comes down the pike.

Wyoming Poker Laws

For instance, Wyoming currently has antiquated laws on poker. Present gambling laws state that poker is legal if it is “between two people who know one another”. That is such vague wording that most people would have a hard time defining what it means, at least in a legal sense.

Any two people who sit face-to-face across a poker table must have a certain personal knowledge of another person, so a good lawyer could argue they knew one another while gambling. Such laws have to be rewritten and updated, to avoid such ambiguities.

Two Private Poker Rooms

Of course, the state needs more gaming oversight if it is going to expand gambling, like so many other U.S. states facing budget deficits have done. At the moment, the state has 4 tribal casinos, which are governed by a gaming compact between the state and tribe. Tribal gaming ventures have a federal mandate, so the regulatory oversight tends to be significant.

On the other hand, two private poker rooms exist in the state. Between those two card rooms, only four gaming tables exist. To expand the number of casinos in the state, more regulation and gaming control agents are going to be needed, obviously.

Licensed Horce Racing

Besides the new lottery and the old tribal gaming casinos, Wyoming also as legal horse racing. Besides that activity, no other legal gambling exists inside the state.

Lawmakers commissioned a study some months ago to determine how to integrate the various existing gaming activities and provide proper oversight for new methods of gambling. The study, which was published in April 2015, suggested that the state likely would need a Wyoming Gaming Commission.

2 Years before It Launches

The study showed that it would be about two years (after approval) before a gaming commission would be operational. Thus, the state’s efforts to legalize private brick-and-mortar gambling needs quick implementation.

The Joint Judiciary Interim Committee has commissioned a study, which is set to be released in 2016. The JJIC study is likely to be the key document in the creation of a regulatory body, if one ever happens in Wyoming.