Northern Arapaho Tribe to offer sports betting in Wyoming

Another federally recognised tribal group has announced plans to add sports betting to its list of gambling operations without legislation in place.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe in the state of Wyoming has announced plans to offer sports betting despite the state not having legislation permitting sports betting.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe’s sports betting plans

The Northern Arapaho Business Council (NABC) announced the Tribe’s plans to offer sports wagering in a press release on 14 October.

The NABC said: “With the addition of well-regulated sports betting, our Northern Arapaho Tribe has an important opportunity to enhance the gaming experience at our facilities while generating increased revenue to help fund vital programs and services for the Arapaho people.

Tribal gaming officials and the Northern Arapaho Gaming Agency are currently taking the appropriate steps to allow wagers on sporting events, an amenity we are excited to make available to patrons of the Wind River Hotel & Casino and our other Tribal gaming establishments.”

According to Wyoming’s Northern Arapaho Tribe, they do not require approval from the state to expand its activities to include sports wagering.

In the press statement, the tribe said: “The Northern Arapaho Tribe conducts gaming under authorization of the US Department of the Interior, and does not require state approval for sports betting.”

This means that sports betting could be coming to three casinos owned and operated by the tribe, including the Wind River casino venue in Central Wyoming.

Will there be mobile betting in Wyoming?

If the tribe is successful in launching sports betting, potential bettors will have to visit one of the Northern Arapaho’s casinos. At the time of writing, no tribal group has attempted to launch online or mobile betting when launching the activity without approval from the state.

However, federal legislation was introduced last year that would have allowed tribal groups to offer mobile betting as long as the servers were located on their tribal reservations. This legislation was passed to the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States but has received no action.

It is very unlikely that the Northern Arapaho Tribe will offer mobile or online sports betting any time soon.

Can tribes launch sports betting without state approval?

Although the fall of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018 removed the federal government from interfering with sports betting, it is still not entirely clear if tribal communities need state approval to offer sports betting.

In October 2018, several months after the fall of PASPA, the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel in the Pueblo of Santa Ana in Bernalillo, which is operated by the Tamaya Nation tribal community launched sports betting without state approval.

Several other New Mexico tribal venues launched sports betting operations including, the Buffalo Thunder Resort is owned and operated by the Pueblo of Pojoaque Corp tribal community and the Isleta Resort and Casino near Albuquerque which is operated by the Pueblo of Isleta.

However, in some cases, tribal groups have been stopped from launching sports wagering altogether. Earlier this year in Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt attempted to add sports betting to several new tribal compacts but was sued and ruled against by the state’s Supreme Court.

Tribal gambling activities are broken down into three classes, Class I, Class II and Class III. Class I includes social gambling like bingo while Class II includes machines that look like slots but function on the math of electronic bingo.

Class III activities include every other form of gambling including slots and table games. Under the US Code of Federal Regulations, Class III activities also include sports betting. The Northern Arapaho are permitted to offer Class III gambling.

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