• Defending the WYOMING Way of Life

Current Issues

Here at the WPPC, we strive to remain vigilant in our role as Wyoming public policy watchdog. Topics on our radar include opposing the expansion of government control and unnecessary government regulation of free markets while still ensuring the safety of our citizens through appropriate application of law and order activities, preventing government officials from getting too comfortable in the offices we pay for, ensuring appropriate land and water use, defending against intrusion on our Constitutional rights, protecting our religious liberty, and similar issues as they arise.

For the 2019 Legislative Session, the WPPC is particularly focused on the proposed Wyoming Gaming Commission. This bill would create unnecessary new governmental bureaucracy to regulate popular activities like bingo and calcutta wagering, while inviting an increase in crime by placing video slot machines in any bar, restaurant, truck stop, and convenience store that wants them.

It is an unwanted expansion of governmental authority, an overreach into our personal freedoms, and a recipe for increased crime, all without any discernible benefit to the people of Wyoming.

GOVERNMENT OVERREACH & PUBLIC SAFETY RISK

The Wyoming legislature is considering a bill in the Senate to create a new Gaming Commission (SF0132) that would regulate gambling statewide (bingo, pull-tabs, calcutta events, and video slot machines) as well as a companion House bill (HB0206) specifically focused on regulating the expansion of video slot machines to truck stops, liquor and convenience stores, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs around the state.

We believe the current gaming environment is appropriate for Wyoming and is regulated at an appropriate level of governmental involvement to ensure the safety and rights of the citizens of our great state.  We are opposed to new legislation that will introduce additional regulation, restrict gambling further, or expand it.  Very simply, we support the status quo and encourage legislators to vote NO on bills that will change the current gaming environment.

Together, the proposed bills would be an unnecessary new layer of governmental bureaucracy, with additional costs, unintended consequences, and the potential for a slippery slope to further government growth.  In addition, we fear that the expansion of video slot machines to truck stops as well as every establishment with a liquor license will increase crime in Wyoming, as it did in Illinois where violent crime spiked 15% after their introduction.

The new regulatory authorities will be expensive, too.  The Gaming Commission is projected to require at least a dozen new full time government employees at a cost of over $500,000 per year, with an additional startup cost of nearly half a million dollars.  Further, if the experience in Illinois is any guide, the taxpayer can expect to pay $3 to address the costs of crime, bankruptcy, and addiction for every $1 in new revenue collected by the state.

The new Gaming Commission would be in addition to the existing Pari-Mutuel Commission, and would have broad rule-making and enforcement authority, including new license procedures, license fees, recordkeeping requirements, and the power to investigate and inspect in order to enforce these new rules.  The bill gives the Commission total discretion to issue or deny licenses with or without reason.  Bingo and pull-tabs will only be available to licensed charitable organizations operating in Wyoming for more than 3 years.  Towns and counties will have authority to prohibit certain gaming activities but not others, creating a crazy quilt of gaming laws as you drive through the state.

There are also many unintended consequences of the current bill, such as putting onerous new recordkeeping requirements and license fee payments on groups like the Knights of Columbus or VFW, imposing a tax on bingo games, and criminalizing unlicensed poker games or calcutta wagering events.

We oppose this unnecessary expansion of governmental authority and invitation to violent criminals, all to chase the fools gold of revenue to the state.  We encourage legislators to vote NO on any bills that change the current gaming environment in Wyoming.

TERM LIMITS

We believe the basic human nature of politicians is the primary source of the desire for expanding governmental reach. As legislators and administrators become entrenched in their positions, they begin to accrue power and influence, which naturally leads to the desire for more power and influence. The longer they stay in power, the more the cycle repeats and builds on itself. As a result, we feel that term limits are an essential part of maintaining a small, responsive government that is focused on doing the people’s business, not on protecting and expanding its own power and institutions. To that end, we support the effort in the 2019 session to institute term limits, as embodied in HJ0004. The text of the proposed bill can be found here: https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HJ0004

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