Wyoming Legal Poker

Last Update: March 20, 2015

Online Poker

Wyoming is one of those ambiguous states where it’s very difficult to say whether online poker is, or is not, legal. For one thing, no statute is directly on point. For another thing, the skill v. luck debate has never been tested in Wyoming. And for a third thing, it’s unclear if playing online poker on computer servers outside the state would even trigger any of Wyoming’s gambling statutes even if online gambling isn’t permitted in the state.

That may be an unsatisfactory answer but at present it’s the best one we can give. Bear in mind that, as we mentioned when discussing live poker, Wyoming is a conservative state when it comes to gambling. That conservative attitude will not doubt color enforcement of any gambling laws in the online space.

Live Poker

Almost all forms of gambling are illegal in Wyoming. Under Title 6, Chapter 7, Article 1 of the Wyoming Statutes, gambling is a misdemeanor and professional gambling is a felony. The statute permits several exceptions to the definition of gambling, including “bona fide contest of skill… in which awards are made only to entrants” and gambling that is “incidental to a bona fide social relationship” as long as no participant is a professional gambler.

On its face, then, home games are totally permissible under Wyoming law. The issue of whether poker is “gambling” is thornier, as it would seem to turn on the classic skill v. luck debate.

Bear in mind, however, that Wyoming is one of the few states that does not permit any lottery games. The state also has only three very small tribal casinos, none of which offer live poker. Overall, Wyoming takes a very conservative view towards gambling and would likely consider poker to fall under gambling’s statutory definition. While there are anecdotal reports of certain regular poker tournaments that donate a portion of their prize pools to charity being tolerated by local officials, these tournaments would appear to run contrary to the law.

Legal Poker By State