CHEYENNE — Cowboy Skill of Wyoming on Thursday thanked the Wyoming State Legislature and Governor Mark Gordon for supporting Wyoming small business with the passage of legislation that allows skill-based amusement games to continue to operate legally in Wyoming bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations, and truck stops.
The legislation formally recognizes that legal games of skill depend primarily on a player’s level of strategy and skill to win, not on chance.
Pace-O-Matic, the company that creates and distributes Cowboy Skill games, said the legislation in Wyoming was a great victory for many Wyoming small businesses which depended on legal games of skill to survive a tumultuous 2020.
“This past year was very difficult for the restaurant and bar industry,” Pace-O-Matic CEO Paul Goldean said. “We are so thankful to Wyoming state legislators for recognizing that skill-based amusement games are unique from a legal sense. We are excited about the future of the legal skill game industry in Wyoming.”
The legislation specifically removed a sunset date that was placed on skill games in 2020 that, in effect, allowed for a testing period to see how these games benefitted the aforementioned organizations and the State of Wyoming.
In under a year, and with just 232 locations in the state, Cowboy Skill games generated more than $2 million in tax revenues for counties, cities, and Wyoming’s education fund.
Mike Moser, executive director of the Wyoming State Liquor Association, said without these legal games of skill many bars and restaurants wouldn’t have been able to survive this past year.
“These legal skill games proved to be a financial lifeline for these 300+ small businesses, without of which some, no doubt, would have closed their doors,” he said.
Travis Sutton, owner of Sutton’s Tavern in Sheridan, Wyoming, said Cowboy Skill games were critical to keeping his business operating during the pandemic.
“I’m just grateful I had them,” Sutton said. “There are a lot of bars and restaurants in the state which had to close down and they’re not coming back. Cowboy Skill games provided my establishment income to keep my workers employed and allowed me to keep paying bills.”
That sentiment was echoed by members of the organization “Cowboy Skill of Wyoming” which was formed by Wyoming-based vending companies who came together and organized to promote legal skill games.
Bobby Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Music and Vending in Rock Springs, said he’s received dozens of phone calls and text messages from bar owners following passage of the legislation.
“If you go talk to the Eagle Bar in LaBarge, the Boulder Bar & Grill in Boulder, the Green River Bar in Daniel, or the Corral Bar in Pinedale, you’ll get a sense for how important Cowboy Skill games are to these small businesses,” Jenkins said.
“These are the bars and restaurants where the community comes together,” he said. “And you have to credit members of the Wyoming State Legislature who listened to their constituents. It’s a great day for Wyoming small business.”