A proposal to legalize online sports betting to raise revenue for Wyoming has cleared a first vote in the Senate after narrowly passing the House earlier this month.
The bill passed its first Senate vote last Thursday and faces two more votes there before it could be forwarded to the governor.
If approved, the bill directs the Wyoming Gaming Commission to regulate online sports gambling, including imposing a 10% tax.
Republican Sen. Drew Perkins of Casper said people are going out of state to place sports bets, both legally and illegally, and the legislation would allow Wyoming to regulate the industry. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have some sort of sports betting, including Colorado and Montana.
The Legislative Service Office said it was difficult to estimate how much revenue legalized sports betting would create, but the Gaming Commission estimates the state’s sports wagering market has a $449 million value.
Opponents argue sports wagering will lead to gambling addiction. The bill sets aside the first $300,000 in sports wagering revenue each year to provide funding for gambling addiction treatment.