Wyoming’s Gaming Commission plans to expand the state's sports betting business despite the fact that its first month after it went live showed lower numbers than expected.
The state’s first two sports betting companies, DraftKings and BetMGM, together took in more than $6 million in wagers during September, according to the Wyoming Business Report. Wyoming is currently looking at a net loss for its first month of legalized sports gambling, in large part due to promotions that come along with the launch of new sportsbooks in the state: DraftKings offered new users a $200 bonus to go along with their first deposit, while BetMGM promoted a risk-free bet of up to $1,000. Winnings were about 15% less than total wagers during September, but roughly $1 million in non-cash winnings have resulted in a slight deficit.
According to David Carpenter, project manager of sports wagering for the Wyoming Gaming Commission, the number of competitors in the state is likely to increase in the next month, stating he “would expect at least one more operator to be approved” at the WGC’s Nov. 5 meeting, pointing to FanDuel and Penn National Gaming’s Barstool Sportsbook as two potential candidates. He also noted he has been in contact with PointsBet, which he hopes to have onboard soon.
“In November, we’re likely going to approve our third operator, and then I would expect by the end of the year or early in 2022 we’ll be upwards of five to six operators. And then I would expect by the end of 2022 we’ll be closer to 10".
Carpenter also added that the initial estimates for the state were unlikely, as the state has a small market, as well as a small population base, and this is a high volume market with low margins.
While Wyoming is below the estimates of up to $450 million in annual handle, Carpenter believes increased competition will help the state grow, revenue-wise. “From an overall sports wagering perspective, I heard a lot of talk about $450 million in total handle. Obviously, based on what we’ve discussed, we’re not going to get there. One month in, we’re at $6 million, and $450 million is a long way off”.
Carpenter’s strategy now consists of getting “really strong operators and give everyone an opportunity to find the markets they like”, and hoped to have “a lot of competition”.
October is expected to grow higher than September, as it had the football season in full swing along with the NBA and NHL. “Around the seventeenth of the month, we had already surpassed that first month’s total wagers”, Carpenter said.