Eyes in the American gambling industry have turned to look with interest at the state of Wyoming in recent weeks, with the Cowboy State having drafted legislation to allow bettors there to use cryptocurrencies.
Wyoming is the least populous state in the USA, but it could have taken a significant step towards shaping the future of the lucrative American gambling sector.
The United States has been somewhat slower than much of the rest of the world in liberalising the laws around online gambling, but the federal ban on sports betting was overturned on May 14, 2018.
This was when the United Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Now, in 2021, sports betting is allowed in some form in 26 states as well as Washington DC.
In September, Wyoming became the latest state to offer some form of legalised online betting to its residents, with the important addition of allowing bettors to use blockchain technology to fund their accounts.
Significantly perhaps, it has taken over three years for a state to come up with legislation permitting the use of cryptocurrencies, a sign of how knotty legislators seem to find the issue.
House Bill 133 in Wyoming permits bettors to deposit funds in their online betting accounts using cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin is the most popular option. The Bill also allows bettors to use cryptocurrencies in betting shops, as long as they can be converted easily into cash.
Wyoming has become something of a hotbed of cryptocurrencies, with legislators hoping to attract much blockchain business to the state in the coming years.
Industry insiders see the move as significant as the full range of possibilities for gambling with cryptocurrencies are yet to be explored. We are still in very early days with this technology and how it can be applied to the gambling industry.
Depositing and withdrawing from accounts using cryptocurrencies is just a first step. More convenient financial processes might be just the beginning of a journey that takes bettors into entirely new realms of experience.
If all 50 states in the USA were to pass legislation allowing gambling, it is estimated that the online gambling industry in the country could end up worth around $20 billion. The industry has already seen huge growth generated in states where sports betting laws have been liberalised in recent years.
The revenue generated by regulated sports betting across 19 of the 50 US states more than trebled year-on-year to $3.08bn in the 12 months to June 2021. Online gross gaming revenues during that period grew by an astounding 312 percent to $2.61bn or 85 percent of the total.
Those figures have taken the USA to second place in the rankings of gaming industry revenue on a country-by-country basis. While the UK remains very much in first place, the USA has now risen above Italy and Australia.
Interestingly, some individual US states now ran above countries in the revenue that their gaming industries are generating. New Jersey and Pennsylvania occupied fifth and sixth place in the international comparison tables in the first half of 2021.
They rose above Spain and Sweden in the rankings, highlighting the size of the American gambling industry. As more states liberalise their laws that revenue can only increase, especially if another boost is given to the American industry by the use of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies.
GammaStack is a software development company that is highly active in the gambling industry. They can see the possibilities that legislation such as that in Wyoming can offer to companies that are active in the American gaming industry.
“There is already a massive demand in crypto and blockchain based betting and gambling software solutions around the globe. Thirty-five per cent of the queries we receive revolve around the same,” said GammaStack CEO Mr. Gaurav Soni.
While online betting operators can reduce running costs by using blockchain technology, there are also other benefits for the customer. Cryptocurrency transactions are highly secure and can be processed much more quickly than transactions using traditional currencies.
Lower operating costs allow the sportsbooks to operate with better margins, which translates into more taxable revenue for the state. More competitive odds can also be offered to customers due to the lower costs associated with using blockchain technologies.
Wyoming may be the smallest state in the union in terms of its population but its legislators are forging ahead when it comes legislating for the use of innovative payment technology in the gambling industry.
The Cowboy State could be set to be at the cusp of a new frontier for the industry, and those states with more established online gaming laws are sure to be paying close attention. The legal template that has been put in place in Wyoming is sure to be followed in many other places across the USA in the coming years.