US Gambling Legislation: Wyoming, Nebraska, and Alabama

In the states of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Alabama, lawmakers are currently formulating frameworks for their sports betting markets, with those discussions seeing some important action over the past week. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Lawmakers mull gambling legislation

In the US, lawmakers in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Alabama are all in the process of weighing up legislation which would expand their respective gambling markets. Over the past week, some important updates have taken place in regard to those discussions.

The Wyoming Gaming Commission (WGC) has released proposed rules for its online-only sports betting market. The gaming regulator has until September 1 to secure approval for the framework, and will hold a virtual stakeholder session on Tuesday morning to discuss the proposition.

Lawmakers opted to take the keno rules out of the legislation on Monday

In Nebraska, legislators have removed a mobile keno inclusion from a bill that aims to legalize casino gambling at state racetracks. Lawmakers opted to take the keno rules out of the legislation on Monday with a 27-11 vote.

Finally, Alabama’s chances of passing a casino and state lottery bill before the end of the legislative session look increasingly less likely. The bill stalled in the House last week, meaning lawmakers must consider the issue again during the last remaining day of this year’s session.

Wyoming regulator seeks rules approval

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed sports betting into law on April 5 through HB 133. Before the online-only market can launch, the WGC must finalize its rules for sportsbook licensees.

The regulator has now released the first draft of those rules, which closely mirror the state’s sports betting law. This includes a legal wagering age of 18, an operator tax of 10% on gross gaming revenue, and the inclusion of sports wagering on professional, collegiate, and Olympic sports. The law also allows for a minimum of five sportsbook licensees.

Notably, HB 133 and the WGC’s new rules pave the way for gambling funded through crypto payments. Wyoming will represent the first state to enable cryptocurrency wagering, with payment options including Bitcoin, prepaid vouchers, personal checks, and money orders, in addition to debit and credit cards.

If the Wyoming legislature approves the WGC’s rules, the state could see sports betting as early as September 1. In a notice to potential attendees, the regulator said the aim of Tuesday’s meeting is “to discuss” the first draft.

Nebraska lawmakers strip keno inclusion

Legislators in Nebraska have backed gambling expansion legislation this year, with two combined bills making significant progress. Together, LB 560 and LB 561 woud legalize casino wagering at state racetracks, including the addition of sports betting. However, the inclusion of mobile keno wagering has caused some issues.

urged the government to allow mobile keno in bars and parlors

Lawmakers decided to include e-keno in the legislation after hearing from officials of Nebraska’s major cities in March. They raised concerns that the increased number of gambling options would prove detrimental to keno revenue, and urged the government to allow mobile keno in bars and parlors.

Sadly for those city officials, lawmakers voted for a U-turn on this decision Monday, meaning the legislation will progress without its mobile keno measure. Its opponents argued that Nebraska voters did not approve e-keno when they passed the constitutional amendment.

One day left in Alabama

In Alabama, legislation which would open nine casinos and introduce a state lottery has slowly made its way through the state legislature. However, it is quickly running out of time for passage in this legislative session, with only one day left for discussion on May 17.

The bill, introduced by Senator Jim McClendon in March, stalled in the House of Representatives last Thursday after negotiations broke down between Republicans and Democrats. Due to the conservative nature of Alabama’s legislature, the casino bill required bipartisan support to secure approval.

As reported by the Associated Press, the House’s Republican members pushed to replace the legislation once it failed to gain support on the floor last week. Instead, they intended to pass a bill focused solely on the introduction of a state lottery, but later chose to abandon this plan.

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon blamed high tensions for the bill’s failure to progress on Thursday. “Tensions were high because people have been working so hard,” the lawmaker commented. “Everybody was just really upset at the way things were.” McCutcheon expressed doubt that the bill would pass on the session’s last day. 

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