In the United State, individual states have regulations in place regarding gambling, in a variety of categories, including slots, video gaming terminals, table games and more. When illegal and unregulated gaming is allowed to take place, the state misses out on potential revenues. States can potentially lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues, even millions, when unregulated gaming is allowed to take place. This is exactly what is happening in Wyoming, as hundreds of unregulated gaming machines are in operation without the state’s approval.
Currently, close to 400 gaming machines are in operation within convenience stores, truck stops and bars across the state. These machines are able to produce millions of dollars each year. If the government had approved the machines and were regulating them, taxes could see hundreds of thousands of dollars generated for the state.
The machines are not currently regulated, so no taxes are withheld. Efforts had been made to try and establish regulations for the machines, but efforts were fruitless. Legislation made its way to the Joint Committee on Travel, Recreation and Cultural Resources before being shot down last week. Support was not provided for the measure to continue.
With the legislation, the machines would have been regulated and taxed by the government. A gaming commission would have been created to maintain oversight on all gambling, not jut these machines. However, the efforts to create such a commission would not come to pass.
Any effort to see the machines regulated will now have to wait yet another year. Senator Ogden Driskill spoke with the media on the machines and stated that he feels next year when they come back in session, the games will have doubled or even tripled. Apparently, it is getting more difficult to shut down the industry and it will only get harder as the machines grow in number.
Like every state in the US, Wyoming needs to have revenue sources. The gaming machines are literally a resource sitting under their noses and it seems members of legislature cannot seem to see the potential for revenues. The machines are already popular so regulating them and earning a cut of profits would only mean more money that the state could use for resident needs.
Current Gambling Regulations
The state currently offers a lottery and horseracing, both of which are regulated. These industries help to provide funds to the state, but more money is needed. With millions already being generated from the gaming machines, it would be instant cash for the state. If legislation could be created and passed into law, taxes could begin to roll in immediately.
We shall see in the coming months if the machines grow in number and if legislators will be able to come to some type of agreement by next year on how they can regulate the machines to bring in more revenues.
If not, the machines will continue to operate without regulation and the state will continue to lose out on potential revenues in the six figure range.