Is it "gambling" or is it a "skill game?" What's the difference?

Wyoming has had a rather conservative take on gambling. But so called "skill games" can be a grey area, especially when they have become increasingly popular in bars across the state.

Skill games have been exempt from gambling laws in Wyoming. The state has given a pass to the games when a participant pays for a chance at a larger pay-out. But these are not so much games of chance when it comes to winning, but rely more on the players' skill.

Wyoming law enforcement has so far not touched skill games because of the area and the lack of oversight rules from a gaming commission.

Back in 2018, Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael issued an opinion saying the more than 300 machines in Wyoming were illegal. Cheyenne law-firm Woodhouse, Roden and Nethercott, took the case before a judge, representing the club and bar owners. Since then there have been meetings with the new Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill to try and find a way to regulate the games.

In 2019, Senate Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Committee voted 1-4 against Senate File 132.

AN ACT relating to gaming; amending statutes concerning gaming and gambling; amending exceptions to the prohibition on gambling; establishing the Wyoming gaming commission to regulate specified types of gaming; providing for administration, licensure, fees, revenue distribution and penalties; authorizing local authorities to prohibit specified types of gaming; authorizing criminal background checks; amending a public records provision; providing applicability; providing for a transfer of funds and an appropriation; requiring rulemaking; and providing for effective dates.

Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower was the one vote in favor of the bill. It was argued that forming a commission to oversee skill games would cost the state a dozen employees and $500,000.

While all this is going on, the Cowboy Skill Games lobby is fighting to make their case as to how skill games benefit the state. You can learn more through their website, YouTube videos, and ads purchased on social.

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