Wyoming plans to expand sports betting despite low initial numbers

PROMO 64J1 Miscellaneous - Sports Betting Gambling - iStock - CarmenMurillo
Published Friday, November 12, 2021
by Elyse Kelly | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) - Wyoming saw its first month of sports betting close out with lower-than-expected numbers, but the state still plans to expand the industry.

Wyoming's first two sports betting enterprises, DraftKings and BetMGM, together took in more than $6 million in wagers during September, the Wyoming Business Report reported. Estimates of yearly wager totals, also called handle, were as high as $450 million initially, a number out of reach if monthly handles continue to look like September's takings, according to the report.

David Carpenter, project manager for online sports wagering with the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission, said he didn't see the initial estimates as likely.

"We're a very small market overall, very small population base and this is a high-volume type of thing with pretty low margins all in all," he told The Center Square. "We're never going to blow the doors off this thing."

Carpenter added that it will still be a good revenue stream for the state. He fully expects numbers in the coming months to grow higher than September's. Preliminary data from October indicates things are looking up.

"Around the seventeenth of the month we had already surpassed that first month's total wagers," he said.

October has a lot more going on in the sporting world than September, with football season in full swing along with the NBA and NHL, Carpenter pointed out.

The state plans to add more operators in the coming months, Carpenter said. FanDuel and Penn National Gaming's Barstool Sportsbook are two competitors with potential to enter the market, according to Wyoming Business Report.

Carpenter said the legislation establishing sports betting in the state set no cap on how many operators Wyoming can approve. The point of this is to create competition, he said.

"In November, we're likely going to approve our third operator, and then I would expect by the end of the year or early in 2022 we'll be upwards of five to six operators," he said. "And then I would expect by the end of 2022 we'll be closer to 10."

Carpenter thinks it will be a win-win for the state and operators. He added, however, that The Cowboy State is taking the responsible gaming side of this enterprise seriously.

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