Wyoming Downs plans to expand despite Councilor’s objection

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Emma Marsing, [email protected]

ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING — Wyoming Downs is adding a new betting location at 63 Center Street in Rock Springs. Andrew Hubert, a representative of Wyoming Downs, appeared before the council to answer further questions regarding the endorsement letter the Mayor wrote for them to take to the County Commissioners.

According to the Wyoming Downs webpage, “Wyoming Downs Racetrack is the largest and only privately owned racetrack in Wyoming. It’s located 10 miles north of Evanston on HWY 89. The combination of sheer excitement and family atmosphere, backed by one of Wyoming’s deepest and longest sporting traditions make it one of Wyoming’s most popular sports and entertainment destinations. Wyoming Downs Off-Track Betting facilities are located throughout Wyoming in 14 convenient locations. OTB locations are open year-round. Live Racing at the Wyoming Downs Racetrack is seasonal.”

Councilor Pedri had some concerns that were brought to him by his constituents regarding the regulation and benefit of the entertainment.

Wyoming Downs operates from the Wyoming Gaming Commission with historical horse-racing terminals. The Wyoming Gaming Commission regulates the games and prioritizes inspections. On top of that, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau also implements random inspections as well to solidify that only historical racing is occurring.

The take-out that is allowed by state law is 7%, and the other 92% goes back to the winner. To make that more clear, for every $1.00 spent, Wyoming Downs receives .07 cents. With the money Wyoming Downs receives, they pay all their fees throughout the state for various organizations.

Wyoming Horse Racing as told by Hubert is mandated under a Wyoming State Statute. As for the concern on the addiction of gambling, Wyoming Downs pays into the National Council on Problem Gambling as well as provides flyers and brochures, will put in calls for their customers for care, and will remove players per their request. This can also be requested at live horse racing events.

In Sweetwater County there are two competitors operating which are Wyoming Horse Racing and Wyoming Downs. The catch however is that Wyoming Downs is currently the only business licensed. Hubert stated, “When we went to the county we had a sunset put on our authorization to be open. It is the only two facilities (Town Bar and Liquor Depot) in Sweetwater County that have that sunset at this time and we are trying to get it removed before it expires”.

 

Mayor Mickelson responded to this issue by stating, “All the city is endorsing here is, yeah, they should be able to continue having their license as long as other like businesses are being licensed”.

Located on the endorsement letter, the new location will provide 12-15 full-time jobs for the Sweetwater Community.

Due to conflicting views, Councilor Pedri voted against the motion whereas the rest of the council voted in favor to send the endorsement letter to the County Commissioners.