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Wyoming Lotteries

After over 20 years of unsuccessful attempts, Wyoming authorized the establishment of a lottery in March 2013. The first lottery tickets were sold in August of the following year. The Lottery currently offers traditional and multi-state draw games. The new state law prohibits instant lotteries, scratch-off tickets, video lottery terminals or any electronic game involving contact between players and machines.

Gov. Matt Mead signed HB77, the Wyoming Lottery Act, into law on 13 March 2013. Rep. David Zwonitzer was the primary sponsor of the bill. The legislation needed multiple amendments and a ban on all "instant gratification" games to pass.

The Act established the Wyoming Lottery Corporation to operate the lottery and games. A nine-member Lottery Board is responsible for policy and oversight of the Lottery. The Georgia Lottery, considered one of the most successful U.S. lotteries, was cited as the model used in forming the Wyoming Lottery and Board.

The Wyoming Lottery Corporation is a self-sustaining organization and uses lottery game proceeds to operate. Wyoming is one of nine state lotteries that do not use tax dollars to subsidize their operations.

The CEO and all Lottery employees are required to undergo a comprehensive background check for possible criminal history, among other risk factors. The Board may use a private company to execute the background checks or use the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.

By law, retailers are to be paid commissions of at least 6% of their gross ticket sales. Licensed Lottery retailers are required to pay for their background checks and pay up to $300 for vendors to install machines at their business premises.

By law, at least 50% of ticket sales must be returned to players as prizes. The Board is also authorized to use unclaimed prize money of up to $200,000 each year toward the treatment of compulsive gambling disorders.

By law, $6 million in profit must first go into the state's general fund to be distributed to local municipalities; any profit above that amount then goes to benefit public education. Wyoming is the second lottery, after Massachusetts, which primarily benefits local governments.
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