Wyoming’s sports betting regulator says sports betting expansion is coming by the end of the year, according to a WyoSports story. David Carpenter, project manager of sports wagering for the Wyoming Gaming Commission, told the news outlet that he expects at least one additional operator — and potentially two — to get go-live approval at the commission’s November meeting.
The Wyoming Gaming Commission launched BetMGM and DraftKings as the state’s first operators Sept. 1, in time for the start of the NFL season, and the state’s law requires a minimum of five digital sports betting platforms. Wyoming lawmakers last spring became only the second in the nation to legalize digital-only wagering. Tennessee was the first.
According to sources, FanDuel and Barstool Sportsbook are currently in the application process, while Carpenter told WyoSports that he’s had “quite a bit” of conversation with PointsBet. All five operators are live for in-person and digital wagering in Colorado.
Handle estimates off?
The smallest state in the nation by population, Wyoming does not have any professional sports teams. During the legalization process, a fiscal note on HB 133 projected that Wyoming sportsbooks could see up to $450 million in betting handle — but that number may be inflated.
Wyoming has a population of just under 600,000. For comparison, the next smallest legal U.S. jurisdiction that’s had live, legal digital wagering for a year or more is Washington, D.C., with nearly 715,000 residents. The handle since the May 2020 go-live of the D.C. lottery’s GamBetDC is $216.8 million through September 2021. Rhode Island has a population of more than 1 million, and it has had total handle of $726.9 million from November 2018-August 2021.
Both of those jurisdictions also offer in-person wagering. D.C. may not be a good comparison despite its population, as the lottery’s oft-maligned GamBetDC was the only available platform for the first seven months after go-live. But based on Rhode Island’s numbers, a more reasonable annual handle for Wyoming is probably around $250 million.
Tennessee, which will have had live sports betting for 12 months on Nov. 1, has seen $1.7 billion in sports bets through August 2021, but the state has a population of nearly 7 million and at least seven mobile platforms are operating in the state.
WyoSports is reporting that DraftKings and BetMGM combined for $6 million in Wyoming handle in September, though the gaming commission has not yet released official numbers. Handle has the potential to grow as more operators launch.
The state’s first revenue report is expected later this week.