CHEYENNE ó The nine-member Wyoming Lottery Board met for the first time in July, and projected a January 2014 start date for the stateís lottery. But building a lottery from the ground up takes time, money and determination.
Gov. Matt Mead signed the lottery bill into law last March, and the state has been scrambling to put together the pieces. The Wyoming Lottery is a quasi-governmental entity. It is not funded by tax dollars, and as such will have to get a loan for operations in the early days of the lottery.
In September, the Wyoming Lottery Corporation hired an official CEO, Jon Clontz, who was formerly with the Oregon Lottery. Over the course of the year, the corporation has secured a $1 million loan, found office space and vetted gaming vendors.
Clontz is currently working through the process of selecting a vendor from one of the nationís three lottery vendors. He anticipates making that decision in the coming weeks, but says he wonít commit to a date for the lottery to start.
Officials had hoped to have the lottery up and running by now, but some have said it wonít be until 2015 that Wyomingites can begin purchasing tickets in this state.
ďI donít want to promise things I canít deliver on,Ē Clontz said in a December Casper Star Tribune interview. ďIt goes back to integrity.Ē
Evanston Chamber of Commerce executive director Dawn Darby said in a Herald interview, ďIím disappointed. I understand it takes time to get these things put together. When you communicate an anticipated launch date, I think itís important to keep the state informed.Ē
Darby said information on the Wyoming Lottery Corporation website is outdated and does not contain any contact information. ďI ended up calling the governorís office, to find out who to talk to and how to get hold of them. They gave me an email address two weeks ago, and Iím still waiting for a response.Ē
Darby said several area businesses have expressed interest in being vendors, but she has been unable thus far, to be of assistance.
ďI donít know whatís going on. I canít officially confirm 2015, but thatís what Iíve been hearing,Ē she said. ďIím disappointed with how itís been handled. Once it gets going, it will generate revenue for the city, but I feel like there is no communication.Ē
With that said, it looks like Wyoming residents will have to wait just a bit longer for the games to start.