When Wyoming first seriously began looking at regulating gaming in 2019, the Northern Arapaho Tribe did everything they could to kill it.
Recognizing what could be an existential threat to one of their main sources of revenue – the Wind River Hotel and Casino — the tribe pumped thousands of dollars into a dark money lobbying campaign to defeat it. They succeeded.
When word got out, tribal leaders quickly distanced themselves from the campaign, and when regulated gaming came up again in the 2020 legislative session, they went to the bargaining table in an effort to draft gaming regulations in a more collaborative manner.
That ultimately didn’t happen. Wyoming lawmakers passed a significantly pared down bill to establish a statewide gaming commission to essentially legalize just one form of gambling: slot-machine-like “games of skill,” most of which had already been illegally operating in the state.
No keno. No poker. And no sports betting, a…