How the Lottery has Affected Wyoming - Wyoming Magazine


How the Lottery has Affected Wyoming


How the Lottery has Affected Wyoming

People often talk about how the lottery has affected the winners. You often hear stories about mysterious curses, strange events and unfortunate accidents that befall lottery winners. However, you rarely hear about the people who run the lottery, and how the lottery affects the people and communities that it becomes a part of. In many ways, the lottery is a piece of the local identity, and it becomes part of the state’s unique culture, heritage and economy. In no place is this more true than for the residents of Wyoming. It’s a state you associate with wide-open territory and old-fashioned values. The lottery is the last thing you would expect to see.

The Lottery’s Inception

The introduction of the lottery in Wyoming came as a surprise to many of the residents in Wyoming. It was in 2013 that the government decided to approve the lottery, and now that more than a year has passed, we have some idea of how the lottery could affect the future of Wyoming. It really began in 2013, when state lawmakers finally conceded to public pressure to bring the games to Wyoming. In the past, the games were largely seen as a moral issue. However, with so many other forms of legalized gaming and gambling, it became a difficult issue to justify. The state already had casinos, horse racing and even more benign, but deadly serious, games like Bingo.

The justification was made largely because the proceeds acted like a mini-tax for the state, and local governments could use the proceeds to support local institutions and public schools. The only issue that is really of growing importance is how to help those who have problems with gambling addiction help reign in their expenditures. Some have proposed that limits be placed on the number of lottery tickets that can be purchased, but those afflicted with an addiction could simply branch out since there are so many other forms of gambling available in the state. The argument that the lottery is too easy to access and purchase tickets for is one that Wyoming and other states will continue to have to contend with.

Government Stipulations on the Lottery

The government initially allowed a six year bill that must be renewed for the lottery to continue operations. The operations started on August 24, 2014. Initially, there were 400 authorized representative who were allowed to sell lottery tickets. Not all forms of the lottery are available, but it’s designed to be able to allow multi-state lotteries in the future. Among the prohibitions include scratch-cards, video lottery terminals and instant win games. Wyoming joins with North Dakota as one of the only states that doesn’t allow the sale of instant win pieces.

The minimum age to purchase a lottery ticket is 18 years. Wyoming is the 44th state to allow a state lottery, and so far the operations have mostly gone very smoothly. Previous bills for the lottery have been proposed and rejected since the 1980s. So, the lottery in Wyoming has been an arduous and long road for its proponents. The only remaining states that don’t have a lottery are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah.

The Profitability of the Lottery

The Wyoming Lottery initially took out three lines of credit to finance their games. This amounted to millions of dollars, but the final credit line is practically paid off entirely. The lottery is operating a completely state-funded operation, and the lottery plans to give the Wyoming Treasurer’s Office $200,000 by June 30, 2016. This is the last day of the fiscal year, and it will help Wyoming to fund cities and towns across the state.

The Lottery is a Private Corporation

The legislature agreed to the lottery under the stipulation that $6 million of the proceeds would be given to local governments. Any additional profits are expected to go into an education fund to help the local public schools. The lottery had to use private loans because the government was unwilling to offer any startup funding for the operation.

One issue that has become a problem for the state is that the lottery considers itself a private corporation. Because of this, lottery officials have twice denied a request by the local government to inspect borrowing information. They have stated that the information is private. However, the state maintains that it is a quasi-public operation, and the corporation must give a valid reason for keeping the documents private. This is one issue that may continue to plague the state as the lottery eventually pays its debts to the state and becomes more autonomous.

However, the board of directors for the lottery is still required to answer to the governor. This makes the lottery at least partially public, and the fact that the lottery bill must be renewed to continue operation means that ultimately the lottery must still answer to the state.

The WyoLotto and Population

The Wyoming Lottery Corporation goes by the branding of WyoLotto. One of the issues that the lottery faces is the fact that the state of Wyoming has a low population. This can make it difficult for the lottery to expand, and it will mean the lottery will remain in debt to the government for a significant length of time. One way to get around this is by the inclusion of a multi-state lottery. Otherwise, the lottery will be doomed to be one of the lower valued lotteries in the states.

The lottery puts in a significant amount of time and effort into making sure the lottery affects the citizen’s of the state. The lottery plans to participate in Powerball, Mega Millions and other games as well. They have a large portfolio of games, and residents can choose the game that is most interesting to them. This makes the WyoLotto on par with many other state lotteries.

How Lottery Money is Allocated

It makes sense to bring the lottery to Wyoming because residents were just spending their money on nearby lotteries. The addition of a lottery in Wyoming makes it possible to keep the money within the state where it will continue to benefit public schools and other government agencies.

The company only withholds the operating costs and the winner payouts. This money is obviously necessary to keep the operation running. All of the money that goes into the lottery is put back into the state, and this makes it an ideal way for residents to have fun, potentially win prizes and contribute to the development of the communities they live in. As the lotto grows, the company is expected to make even more contributions, and the lotto can have a significant impact on the ability for the state to keep up with demands.

Money From Other States

The lotto is only available for sale at Wyoming retailers, but anybody over the age of 18 can play the lottery. This makes it possible for people just over the state’s border to come down and participate in the lottery. This helps to bring in some income for the state from other communities outside the state of Wyoming. Claim winnings over $600 can be requested by mail, so people who do manage to get a winning ticket won’t have to drive to the main lottery office in Cheyenne to claim their reward.

The State Lottery

At the present time, the only lottery for the state is Cowboy Draw. The lotto is researching the possibility of creating additional Wyoming-specific games, and this will help increase the impetus for people living in other states to participate. At the moment, the lottery also offers Powerball and Mega Millions. Any winners of the lottery can choose to remain anonymous, but the company encourages winners to proclaim themselves to the world.

Employees at retailers that sell lottery tickets are able to purchase tickets as long as another employee is able to sell the tickets to you. This makes it possible for everyone to enjoy the lottery. Of course, people who don’t want to prove that another employee sold them the ticket should just purchase their tickets from another retailer. The tickets can also only be purchased with cash. This helps to ensure that the lottery will remain solvent, and it avoids the potential for payment methods to be returned as insufficient. The policy is in place largely to prevent people from charging thousands of tickets to a bank with insufficient funds in an effort to try to game the lotto system.

Earnings Over $6 Million

The lottery is obligated to give the first $6 million to state governments. Any earnings over this amount are set to go to a state fund for education. This can greatly benefit state schools. According to the official lottery page, the company expects to earn between $13 to $17 million in the first year. Wyoming residents will be able to put this money into the local cities, town and county school districts, and the state can benefit from a general increase of funding for everyone involved.

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1 Comment

  1. Al Anderson

    January 21, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    WyoLotto is just a tax on the poorest in WY. What the Lotto corp needs to divulge is just who plays the Lotto in WY.

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