Wyoming Race Wagering
In accordance with Wyoming statute, pari-mutuel events include quarter-horse, thoroughbred, harness, cutter, chariot and chuck wagon horse races. Pari-mutuel events are approved at the county level and require a vote by the county to accept or reject pari-mutuel wagering.
Sweetwater Downs, which reopened in 2011, was Wyoming's only remaining live horse racetrack until June 2014, when Wyoming Downs reopened. Wyoming Downs had stopped hosting live races in 2009.
In 2011, Wyoming raised the fines the Commission could levy on licensees for violations of pari-mutuel rules or regulations from $200 to $1,000. It also authorized the Commission to license and regulate out-of state entities that conducted pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast races and accepted wagers from Wyoming residents at out-of-state simulcast facilities. The measure also authorized the Commission to assess a source market fee, payable by the out-of-state simulcast facilities. Source market fees were limited to 10% of the gross receipts of all Wyoming residents' pari-mutuel wagering conducted at out-of-state simulcast facilities. Source market fees were to be collected annually and distributed so that 75% was given to the live flat track licensees to be used to enhance purses at those tracks; 10% was given to in-state Wyoming simulcast licensees; 10% to the Breeder Award Fund; and 5% to the Commission to be used for administrative expenses.
In 2012, Wyoming extended the period simulcast licenses were renewable from one year to three years and repealed the requirement for simulcast permits to specify an authorized number of days. The bill was effective on 1 July 2012.
In 2013, the state approved the legalization of instant racing, or wagering on historic horse races. Wyoming became the third state to permit players to wager on past races using self-service machines and a library of about 21,000 past races. The machines conceal the date of the meets and the names of the horses before a bet is placed, but provide information on the animals' performance records. Players can wager more often on historic races than live ones, making it probable that historic wagering could generate much more money than traditional simulcast racing.
The machines had once been operational from August 2003 to July 2005, when the Commission first approved them. However, in 2006, after a protracted court dispute, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that instant racing machines constituted illegal gambling devices because the races did not occur in real time. The machines were banned after that decision was rendered.
In 2013, the state legislature re-legalized instant racing, and by December 2016, machines were operational at betting parlors across the state.
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