he Northern Arapaho Tribe opened Thursday its new Buffalo Sportsbook with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate sports betting in the state of Wyoming. The venue launched sports gambling operations in time for NFL, accepting its first wagers as the season kicked off September 9 at 6:20 pm with the Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game.
Located inside Wind River Hotel & Casino, the sportsbook saw media members and public invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrated at 4 pm, reports County 10. Free food and prize giveaways were part of the festivities, which further allowed sports fans in the state to immediately begin placing wagers on the NFL’s first game of the regular season.
“This day is a long time coming, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome sports betting on the Wind River Reservation,” said Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Jordan Dresser. “Buffalo Sportsbook is our latest amenity that we’re optimistic will give sports fans and gaming enthusiasts another reason to visit our Wind River Hotel & Casino.”
According to the tribe, sports fans in Wyoming will not be the only ones to win by being able to now legally wager on sporting events. The NABC sees this as a golden opportunity to support its community. “We’ll all win when this helps create jobs and revenue to benefit the Arapaho people,” said Dresser.
Located 2 miles south of Riverton, the Wind River Hotel & Casino is considered Fremont County’s largest employer. The tribe also owns 789 Smokeshop and Casino, and the Little Wind Casino. Combined, all of them employ more than 500 people, about 80% of them Northern Arapaho Tribe members, according to a 2019 report.
“We’ve created Buffalo Sportsbook to be the absolute best place around to watch the big game, with plenty of HD TVs, food and drink and loads of sports-betting action,” said Sean Ridgebear, Buffalo Sportsbook Manager, encouraging sports fans in the state to visit the venue.
Sports betting in the state of Wyoming was signed into law back in April by Governor Mark Gordon. A launching date in time for NFL was set to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the sporting event, thus avoiding wagers to be placed elsewhere.
Despite Wyoming being the least populated state with less than 600,000 residents, the potential income the venture could create is significant. At a 10% tax on gaming revenues, the in-state sports wagering market could grow into a $450 million industry.
A record 45.2 million Americans plan to wager on the new NFL season, estimates the American Gaming Association, up 36% from the previous season. This increasing interest in sports betting is partly the result of expanded wagering legalization. Wyoming is part of 26 states which now contemplate this type of gambling.