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Off-track betting coming to Sheridan

SHERIDAN — Place your bets, Sheridan.

County Commissioners approved two companies to operate two separate off-track betting sites in Sheridan at their regular meeting Tuesday.

Dynasty Development Management, LLC, operator of Wyoming Downs pari-mutuel horse racing facility in Evanston, will install historical pari-mutuel event terminals and terminals for wagering on live simulcast horse races at Rails Brews and Cues, located at 841 Broadway Avenue.

Wyoming Horse Racing, LLC, which operates Sweetwater Downs in Rock Springs, will install live simulcast terminals and historical event terminals at the Eagles Club on Main Street in Sheridan.

Historical terminals allow patrons to place bets on real races that have previously occurred by allowing patrons to see past performance data for horses but masking identifying information such as horse names and track locations. The database includes 60,000 historical races. Patrons watch a digitized recording of the race, or a portion of it, on the terminal screen to see race results.

Live simulcast terminals allow patrons to place bets on races occurring in present time. They can then watch the live simulcast of the race.

Pari-mutuel wagering uses an electronic “totalizator” to gather wager data from around the nation that is submitted through off-track betting terminals and betting terminals at racetracks. The totalizator assigns wagers into appropriate betting pools; calculates the amount of money to be taken out by racetracks for horsemen’s purses, operating expenses and other costs; and computes the amounts for winning wagers.

The 2013 Wyoming Legislature approved Enrolled Act 46 to allow off-track betting on historical pari-mutuel events in Wyoming. The citizens of Sheridan County voted to allow pari-mutuel events in 1968. Sheridan County approved off-track betting in 1989-1990 and wagering on roping events in 2009, according to the 2009 annual report of the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission.

While 92 percent of wagers is returned to the betting public, 8 percent is used to support live horse racing in the state, Wyoming horsemen’s groups and the cities and counties in which off-track betting is conducted. Each off-track betting site will contribute 1 percent of its total wagers to be split between the city of Sheridan and Sheridan County, Commissioner Terry Cram said.

“We’ve done it in Sheridan over the years a couple of different times. We’ve chosen generally, if the people want it, we’ll vote it in. It doesn’t matter how our individual feelings on it are,” Cram said. “I wish them luck, and it will bring some money into the town. I have no idea what that amount will be. I have no idea if it’s a lot of money, or a little money, or if it will go very far, but it’s something.”

Eugene Joyce, managing partner of Wyoming Horse Racing, first approached the commissioners at their Sept. 4 meeting to ask for their consideration to open an off-track betting site at the Eagles Club. Joyce said he is still waiting for final approval from the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission but expects to open in a few months.

Dynasty Development proposed an open date in late October. Both sites will operate year-round.

“The good news is that with both of us operating, there will be money coming into the city and county of Sheridan. It will be a win-win for everyone,” Joyce said about having competition in the off-track betting field.

Joyce said his business plan ultimately involves bringing live horse racing to sites around the state, including Gillette, Cheyenne and hopefully Sheridan.

In other business, County Commissioners:

• awarded a bid package to Ultimate Steel Erection, Inc., for $113,755 for work on the eight-unit hangar being constructed at Sheridan County Airport.

• awarded a contract to repair damages in the roof of the historic courthouse building. The roof has numerous patches and one leak, Grants Administrator Mike Mackey said. It will be fixed with a three-layer spray-on application with a 15-year warranty.

• approved hiring Megan Deans, who works part-time in the county’s IT department, to serve as the county’s Defensible Space Project Coordinator. Deans has worked on defensible space projects in the past and lives in Story, where most of the work is needed. Her position will be funded with a Defensible Space fire grant.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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