Wyoming Gambling Laws

Wyoming Poker Laws

Is Online Poker / Gambling Legal in Wyoming?

Wyoming gambling laws send mixed messages about the attitudes of its people towards gambling. Wyoming's state lawmakers allow horse track racing and parimutuel gambling at those race tracks. More surprising, Wyoming also allows casino gambling at four different casino establishments in the state. At the same time, Wyoming's politicians and lawmakers refuse to vote in a state lottery, making the state one of a mere handful of American states which doesn't have an official lotto game. Every couple of years, a new legislature takes up the issue, only to have the motions voted down by narrow margins. The 2011 vote ended with a 33-27 victory for the anti-gambling forces in the Wyoming State Senate.

What Laws Cover Poker in Wyoming?

To answer that question, we'll first ask another one: How does Wyoming define gambling? If poker is defined as gambling, then poker is subject to the same laws as all other forms of gambling in Wyoming.
Our answer is located in Section 6-7, subsection 101 of Wyoming code. There, "gambling" is defined as the risk of something of value "contingent" totally or "in part" on luck. As we've noted in guides to states with similar definitions, such as Colorado, it's pretty difficult to assert that poker doesn't involve at least some chance. As a result, poker appears to clearly land within the scope of Wyoming's definition of gambling.
Now we get to the meat of our original question. What does Wyoming law offer in terms of regulated or otherwise legal gambling that would be of interest to poker players?

The first answer we look to is a popular one in states like New Jersey and Arizona: The commercial and tribal casino industry. But you won't find a commercial casino in Wyoming, and poker isn't a part of the game lineup at tribal casinos operating in the state.

So live poker rooms at casinos aren't in the picture. What about gambling events for charitable purposes? Nothing doing there, as only bingo and a few specific versions of raffling are allowed under the exemption for charitable gambling (see Section 6-7-101).

Last up: Home poker games. These do get a pass from Wyoming anti-gambling law. If the game is between people with a "bona fide" relationship and you don't have anyone who is operating the game for profit in any way, you're not running afoul of Wyoming state law. But add a rake or similar charge and the game becomes illegal.

Wyoming Casino Laws

Wyoming's casino gambling laws allow for limited casino gaming interests to take root in the state. The 789 Casino & Bingo Hall in Riverton has 270 video gaming machines. The Wind River Hotel and Casino, also in Riverton, 759 gaming machines and 10 table games, including 9 blackjack tables and 1 poker table.

In nearby Lander, Wyoming, you can find the Shoshone Rose Casino. The Shoshone Rose has 295 gambling machines and 3 electronic blackjack tables. In nearby Ethete, the Little Wind Casino has 176 video gaming machines. All four of these casinos are in Fremont County in the central-west section of Wyoming. With about 35,000 people in the county, a significant number work in these casino environments.

Wyoming Parimutuel Horse Racing Laws

Wyoming has two horse racing venues in the state. The first of these is Wyoming Downs in Evanston, where horse racing takes place during selected times of the year. Evanston is also home to the Legal Tender Bar, which has off-track betting or OTB. The Legal Tender Bar is owned by the Wyoming Horse Racing Llc, which also owns the racing facility in Rock Springs, the Sweet Water Events Complex.

The second live horse racing facility in Wyoming is the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs. Rock Springs also is home to Bombers Sports Bar & Grill in Rock Springs, which has OTB activities, but no live racing events. Both Evanston and Rock Springs are located in the southwestern corner of the state.

Wyoming State Lottery

Though you'll find a site online which looks like an official lottery website for the state of Wyoming, that web address has nothing to do with a Wyoming Lottery. I can state that with confidence, because Wyoming has no lottery.

Learn About Other State Laws

Wyoming Lottery Law Battles

In 2007, 2009, and 2011, state lawmakers in Wyoming have killed proposals to establish a state lottery. Attempts have been made to create a quasi-public lottery corporation to operate a Wyoming only lottery, but this motion failed. Efforts were made in 2009 to join the Powerball multistate lottery, but those championing this motion failed. Proponents of a Wyoming lottery argue that a state lottery would bring in voluntary revenues without taxation, but opponents cited the fear those buying lottery tickets would be those with the least money to spend. State representative Matt Teeters, a Republican from Lingle, suggested Wyoming's citizens should risk their money in other ways: "If you want to gamble, you ought to try joining agriculture for a little while."

This battle has raged for some time and appears as if it might continue to rage for years to come. State representative Sue Wallis, a Republican from Recluse, is a pro-gambling advocate. She pointed out that Wyoming citizens want to gamble and have shown their willingness to do so by crossing state borders to buy lottery tickets elsewhere, meanwhile buying gas, groceries, and dinners in those other states. Once again, proponents would prefer to see that money stay inside the state. Pro-lottery advocates agreed to ban scratch-offs and other instant-win lottery tickets, because of how these appeal to impulse buyers and problem gamblers. Other advocates of Wyoming lottery laws suggested a lottery would bring in about $20,000,000 to $40,000,000 in sales every year, while those opposing the Wyoming lotto claimed a lottery would only break even, if not lose money. It's hard to imagine one member of the electorate would believe that claim, given 20 to 30 years of evidence to the contrary in other US states.

At present, Wyoming is one of 7 US states with no official state lottery.

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