Wyoming Voters to Decide On Legalized Gambling in Park County
CODY, WY—JULY 22, 2020—According to an article posted on the WyomingBusinessReport.com website, Wyoming voters in Park County will be asked on this year’s general election ballot if they want to approve pari-mutuel gambling in their community.
Park County commissioner's approved adding the measure to the November ballot at their meeting last week.
“I firmly support putting this in front of the voters,” said commissioner Jake Fulkerson.
Pari-mutuel most typically involves gambling on a variety of racing sports, but it is only associated with horse racing in Wyoming. On a local level, pari-mutuel would come in the form of "historical racing" terminals that resemble slot machines and live betting on simulcast horse races.
In its most basic form, pari-mutuel would take place through off-track betting in bars and restaurants offering the historical horse races for people to bet on. Traditional slot machines are not legal in Wyoming.
Currently there is no pari-mutuel wagering allowed anywhere in northwest Wyoming outside Teton County.
In 2019, $800 million in wagers were placed in Wyoming. Of that total $793.4 million was spent using historical horse racing terminals. A total of 17 Wyoming counties and cities received funding from historical horse racing terminals in 2019 and 14 total counties where it is legal.
Sheridan, Wyoming is the closest location to Park County where it is both legal and active. Sheridan County and the City of Sheridan each received $341,178 from HHRT in 2019.
“We feel like those are very, very conservative numbers for Park County,” said Josh Allison, a Cody businessman who recently helped start 307 Horse Racing.
Allison and Greer came before the commissioners to push for the measure to be put on the ballot.
The 307 Horse Racing business recently applied for a gaming license with the State of Wyoming and if approved, it would become the state’s third operator. Allison said a licensed operator must host 16 live races over the course of the year, but he said his business is aiming for triple that number.
There is live horse racing currently in Gillette, Evanston and Rock Springs.
The 307 organization will be using the Cam-Plex in Gillette for live horse racing and Greer said he will be speaking with representatives in Casper and Cheyenne soon about leasing their facilities as well.
307 Horse Racing would still have to receive permission from the commissioners to run a HHRT machine in any business if the ballot measure passes.
Although he said it’s a long shot for now, Allison said he would love to bring live horse racing to Cody. Allison is breeding Wyoming-bred Quarter Horses for racing with the hope they will be a factor in the racing scene someday.
“It would be unbelievable to have some races here I think but there’s a lot of stuff you’d have to go through with a track,” Allison said. “You couldn’t just use the rodeo grounds. You’d have to modify it and things like that.”
Pari-mutuel gambling has been legal in Wyoming since 1967. It is now overseen by the Wyoming Game Commission, which was formed by law in March after Gov. Mark Gordon reconstituted the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission, giving the new organization oversight of all gambling in Wyoming.