The list of states looking to legalize sports betting grew to 18 last week, after lawmakers in Alaska and Wyoming introduced several bills to regulate the industry.

After the Governor personally called for the creation of a lottery corporation which would also be authorized to offer sports betting services, bills were submitted within both chambers of the Alaska State Legislature.

And in Wyoming, a pair of lawmakers representing the state Senate and House collaborated to introduce a sports betting bill in the latter chamber.

Alaska Governor Calls for Lotto Corp. That Could Offer Sports Betting

In the “Last Frontier,” Governor Mike Dunleavy exercised his executive power to introduce legislation on February 12 by announcing the Alaska Lottery Corporation Act.

Known as Senate Bill 188 and House Bill 246, Dunleavy’s bills were submitted with the Rules Committee of their respective chambers on February 12.

In a press release announcing the bills – which would create a state-owned Alaska Lottery Corporation (ALC) overseen by the Department of Revenue – Dunleavy outlined his rationale for ending Alaska’s historical aversion to legal lotto:

“In the face of low state revenues, my administration has been actively seeking new revenue sources to diversify our economy.

Not only does this legislation have the potential of creating new business opportunities, the profits generated from lottery activities will be designated to K-12 education, domestic violence prevention programs, drug abuse prevention programs, foster care, and homelessness.

Alaska is one of only five states that does not have any form of a state lottery. I believe it is time we, as a state, have the conversation on the potential benefits that could come from a state lottery.”

As drafted, the identical SB-188 and HB-246 legislation contain a subsection outlining which games the state lottery can offer – a list which includes sports betting via both brick and mortar and online / mobile operators:

“The corporation may conduct any type or kind of lottery game, including single-jurisdiction and multi-jurisdiction draw games instant tickets, sports betting, and keno.

The corporation may conduct lottery games through the use of any media, including electronic terminals, computers, and the Internet.”

The ALC would be governed by a Board consisting of seven members appointed by Dunleavy.

But as his deputy director of communications Jeff Turner told the Anchorage Daily News, Dunleavy isn’t calling for legal sports betting per se, he’s simply providing the ALC Board with authority to offer it as a lottery product should members choose to do so.

Wyoming Lawmakers Team Up on Common Sense Bill

Rather than go the lotto route, Wyoming state representative Tom WaltSporters (R-38) and senator Ogden Driskill (R-1) are hoping to use a more traditional regulatory process.

Walters and Driskell are co-sponsors on House Bill 225, which was introduced and referred to the House Appropriations Committee on February 14.

Under the bill, Wyoming’s Department of Revenue would supervise the licensing and regulation of approved sports betting operators. Wagering would be permitted by bettors aged 18 and above in both the live and online / mobile setting.

Sportsbook operators, meanwhile, would be required to pay a $20,000 licensing fee and a 16 percent tax on revenue.

In a statement issued by his office, Appropriations Committee chairman Bob Nicholas (R-8) said that passing sports betting – along with a wider slate of bills to regulate casino gambling and poker – is paramount to Wyoming’s financial future:

“(It’s) one of the most important bills the Legislature takes on this session.

This could turn into a large revenue maker for the state of Wyoming.”

Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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