2020 proved to be a busy Budget Session. This included the licensure, regulation and taxation of “skill games” with the creation of the Wyoming Gaming Commission, the passage of a state-wide lodging tax to fund the Wyoming Office of Tourism, a number of tobacco bills, and the normal cluster of alcohol related legislation, Below is a list of the most pertinent bills. SF means Senate File, and HB means House Bill:
HB 171 (Wyoming Gaming Commission) institutes licensure, regulation and taxation of “skill games” in Wyoming that are operating in over 400 Wyoming businesses as well as the licensure of bingo, pull tabs, and Calcutta wagering. It also creates the Wyoming Gaming Commission from the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission who will oversee and enforce those operations. All operating skill games must be approved by the Gaming Commission by May 15, 2020, and there are no more new skill games until additional legislation is passed to authorize them. There is a maximum of four skill games per establishment. Bingo, pull tab, and calcutta wagering must be licensed by July 1, 2020. This bill was an important step in keeping these games in Wyoming businesses while ensuring that all operations are bona fide. However, this bill sunsets on June 30, 2021 so additional legislation will be needed to keep skill games in operation past that date. WSLA supported. Signed by the Governor into law.
HB 82 (Contract brewing) allows brewers and microbrewers to obtain by contractual arrangement malt beverages for sales for on or off premises consumption. WSLA supported. Signed by the Governor into law.
HB 158 (Microbreweries) allows for a Wyoming microbrewery to have more than one location provided the additional locations independently fulfill the statutory requirements for a functional microbrewery. WSLA supported. Signed by the Governor into law.
SF 50 (Nicotine products-lawful age and penalties) prohibits the sale or furnishing of nicotine products to persons under 21 years of age as well as prohibiting the possession and use for those under 21 and modifies penalties. Since this can already be enforced under federal law, the WSLA supported. Signed by the Governor into law.
SF 42 (Nicotine products-age verification and shipping) requires age verification for remote sales of nicotine products, including internet sales, added shipping requirements and definitions for nicotine products, and added penalties. WSLA supported. Signed by the Governor into law.
SF 52 (Tobacco products-mail and online sales prohibition) prohibited the shipment or transport of tobacco products when purchased by mail or through electronic means. WSLA opposed this bill, but supported SF 42 (see above) which further regulated and licensed those sales. Killed in Senate Revenue Committee.
HB 5 (Driver’s licenses and IDs) authorized digital driver’s licenses and identification cards for Wyoming. Normally, the WSLA wouldn’t take a position on bills such as this, but there was no “carve out” to still require physical driver’s licenses and ID cards for alcohol and tobacco purchases since digital versions would be much easier to forge. The WSLA worked with the House Transportation Committee to amend the bill to successfully make those changes. WSLA supported this bill as amended. Signed by the Governor into law.
HB 144 (Minimum wage) would have fixed the minimum hourly wage to the federal minimum wage, authorized boards of county commissioners to establish a higher local minimum hourly wage, and repealed the minimum hourly wage exception for youth. WSLA opposed this bill. Died without House Consideration.
HB 134 (Wyoming tourism account funding) imposes a 3% statewide lodging tax, 2% local lodging tax, and the opportunity for an additional 2% local lodging tax. The 2% local option will allow locals to put the tax on the ballot. The 3% will fund the Wyoming Office of Tourism. WSLA supported this bill. Signed by the Governor into law.
HB 153 (Gambling exception-skill contest amendment) would have essentially banned single player “skill games” in Wyoming. WSLA opposed this bill. Died without House Consideration.
HB 185 (Lottery games-keno) would have allowed the Wyoming Lottery to use self-service terminals when they eventually roll out keno and provided for the distribution of net proceeds attributable to keno. WSLA was neutral. Died on House Introduction.
HB 230 (Pari-mutuel events-Rodeo) added professional rodeo events as pari-mutuel events for historic horse racing businesses. WSLA monitored. Signed by the Governor into law.
HB 64 (National corporate tax recapture) would have created the National Corporate Tax Recapture Act, which would have imposed a corporate income tax on certain businesses. WSLA opposed. Died without House Consideration.
HB 73 (Nicotine products-taxation) imposed a 15% tax on electronic cigarettes and related products and expanded definitions of these products. WSLA supported to create parity with other nicotine products, and provided the tax was not out of line with existing products, which it wasn’t. Signed by the Governor into law.
HB 169 (Sales and use tax increase) would have increased the state sales tax from 4% to 5% with the same distribution as the existing sales tax. WSLA was neutral. Died on House Introduction.
HB 205 (Tobacco taxes-amendments) would have increased the tax rate on cigarettes and other tobacco products, expanded the items that constitute tobacco products subject to regulation, reduced the fee allowed to wholesalers for tax collection and stamping, and other changes. WSLA opposed. Died on House Introduction.
HB 225 (Gaming governance) would have legalized online sports wagering and placed the regulation, licensure and taxation under the Wyoming Department of Revenue. WSLA was neutral since HB 225 didn’t provide a direct benefit to Wyoming businesses. Died on House 3rd Reading.
HB 234 (Gaming regulation) created the regulation, licensure and taxation of “skill games” in Wyoming and placed that authority under the Wyoming Lottery Corporation. WSLA supported this bill, but HB 171 (see above) was the one that moved forward so we focused our support on that bill. Died without House Consideration.
SF 134 (Special event liquor licenses) created a special malt beverage permit for the sale of malt beverages only at events conducted on the grounds of an indoor or outdoor rodeo with a total seating capacity of over 7,500. WSLA was neutral. Bill passed into law without the Governor’s signature.