Wyoming advances on gambling regulation bill

Under the draft legislation, the revamped Pari-Mutuel Commission will oversee the regulation and enforcement of legal gaming.

The Joint Committee on Travel, Recreation, and Cultural Resources of Wyoming, U.S., decided to develop a bill calling for expansion of the duties of the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission, which is currently responsible for regulating the state’s horse racing industry, to include gambling.

Under the draft legislation discussed by the committee, all proceeds from gaming will go to host communities and municipalities. The revamped Pari-Mutuel Commission will oversee the regulation and enforcement of legal gaming. However, while the bill provides for the legalization of gambling across the state, it would be up to counties and their voters to decide whether they want legal gambling to be conducted within their counties’ borders.

Commenting on the updated bill, Sen. Ogden Driskill, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Travel, Recreation, and Cultural Resources, said that the piece was crafted after they had invited a diverse group of interested parties, including gaming industry executives and law enforcement officers, to iron out together all issues relating to the Legislature’s push to legalize gambling. Driskill further explained that gambling has been growing too fast to control and that his committee realizes that “whether you’re for or against gaming, the only way to be able to control it is through a gaming commission.”

While Wyoming has a limited number of commercial and state-run gambling options, the state is home to several tribal casinos. One of the tribes –the Northern Arapaho Tribe– has been showing its opposition to the proposed expansion of gambling and has even hired lobbyists to help them in their effort to prevent any expansion legislations from being passed by the Legislature.