Wyoming AG declares so-called ‘skill’ games illegal gambling

WYOMING – Attorney General Peter K. Michael today issued a formal opinion on the legality of the “Wyoming Skill Games,” calling them illegal gambling devices and the people playing them are committing a crime.

Video games of skill—especially those from a certain manufacturer—have become increasingly popular in businesses throughout Wyoming.

“At the request of law enforcement officials, I was asked to evaluate whether the electronic games manufactured by Banilla Games are illegal under Wyoming law,” Michael said. “With the cooperation of the device distributors, I have examined how they operate. These machines are illegal gambling devices under Wyoming law. Those who play them are engaged in gambling, which is a crime in Wyoming. Those who provide the games are engaged in professional gambling, which is also a crime in Wyoming.”

It is unlikely law enforcement throughout the state will begin immediately cracking down, but will probably give establishments hosting the machines a chance to comply and have them removed.

“Because gambling in Wyoming is a crime, not a civil violation, local law enforcement officials and prosecutors will need to determine the timing of the appropriate next steps if their communities have these machines,” Michael added.

The Attorney General’s opinion does not address the lawfulness of the “historic horse racing” terminals at certain pari-mutuel off-track betting locations in Wyoming. These terminals are permitted under separate Wyoming statutes. Similarly, the Attorney General’s opinion does not affect tribal gaming operations conducted on the Wind River Indian Reservation by the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho tribes.

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