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Is sports betting legal in Wisconsin?

Yes, but in an unusual way. Most states allow sports betting through legislative actions, such as bills, proposals, or constitutional amendments. They are designed to change the fundamental statutes about gambling inside their state lines to allow for the introduction of betting on sports.

In Wisconsin, federally recognized tribes can negotiate with the state to change existing state compacts. These amendments allow for sports betting, thus making sports betting legal under the jurisdiction of the individual tribe.

So far, three such amendments have become active in the state: a 2021 agreement with the Oneida Indian Nation and 2022 agreements with the Forest County Potawatomi and St. Croix Chippewa.

Where can I bet on sports in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin sports betting is legal in person at six different tribal casinos. The first place to offer sports betting in the state was the Oneida Casino complex, north of Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay. The Oneida Tribe also owns the Oneida Casino West Mason in Green Bay. Both casinos have retail sportsbooks open for business.

In 2023, the Forest County Potawatomi joined the fold. It opened self-serve sports betting kiosks at two casinos: The Potawatomi Casino in downtown Milwaukee and the Potawatomi Casino in Carter.

The Potawatomi’s Milwaukee location is a temporary setup with 17 kiosks. Still, the tribe has reached a multi-channel partnership with the Kambi Group to provide a full suite of sports betting services to the sportsbook. An on-premises mobile launch is also in the works for this location which is now in the final stages of its renovation.

The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin have three casinos in the Northwest region: St. Croix Casino in Turtle Lake, St. Croix Casino in Danbury, and St Croix Casino in Hertel. The casinos in Turtle Lake and Danbury offer in-person betting at kiosks after the St. Croix Chippewa reached an agreement with International Game Technology (IGT) to power the sports betting tech. The Hertel location will reportedly begin offering betting soon.

In addition to these in-person sportsbooks, online sports betting is available in Wisconsin, albeit in a peculiar fashion.

What’s happening in Wisconsin sports betting right now

Is online sports betting legal in WI?

Yes, but in a heavily restricted manner. Any online sports betting must occur on reservation lands or other properties associated with the tribes offering an app. There are currently no apps offering online sports betting promos statewide.

Because the Oneida tribe owns an additional casino property and more than a half-dozen truck stops around the Green Bay area, the tribe took the unusual step of offering a sports betting app. Based upon the language of the compact, the lands of those stores qualify as valid areas for online sports betting. Thus, besides the main casino area, you may place online sports bets at any of the Oneida One-Stops nearby. 

If you would like to find the closest One-Stop location to you, please consult this page. The areas in red are available with the app. Here’s where they are:

Wisconsin sports betting law

As we mentioned, Wisconsin’s status concerning legal sports betting is unusual. There is no law in the Wisconsin Statutes allowing sports betting. Yet, sports betting is legal and active.

New Mexico is the only other state not to pass a sports betting law and still host sportsbooks. Still, unlike that state, Wisconsin sports betting exists under an amendment to the state’s compact with the Oneida Indian Nation.

The amendment that paved the way for the Oneidas to open their sports betting operations is the third amendment to the tribe’s 1991 compact. Although most tribal amendments tend to be short on detail, this one serves as a reasonable analog for the sports betting laws in other states.

Under the amendment’s language, the Oneida Indian Nation can offer wagering on “events.” Event wagering is defined as:

accepting wagers on the outcomes of, or occurrences within, sports and non-sports games, contests, and matches, but shall not include parimutuel wagering on horse, harness, or dog-racing events.” 

In other words, betting on sporting events and other contests is legal. Unlike in some states, it is possible to wager on the Oscars and esports in Wisconsin. Based upon the language about outcomes and occurrences, it is also clear that the agreement permits live wagering alongside the standard pregame betting.

Online sports betting is legal under the agreement, but only at the tribe’s properties. That means the Oneidas must ensure their app is only available within the tight perimeters of their nine properties in the Green Bay area through geolocation verification software. 

Finally, the amendment includes language to allow the tribe to benefit from authorizations that other tribes might receive. If one of the 10 other federally recognized tribes in the state launches sports betting, the terms of the new permit transfer onto the Oneidas.

Popular sports for betting in Wisconsin

Although sports betting locations in Wisconsin are clustered in a single area, there’s no shortage of fandom for Wisconsin’s top sports teams. With the state home to roughly 6 million people, there is plenty of support for major professional teams that call the state home.

NFL

Sports betting in Wisconsin is available in the city with perhaps the most passionate and rabid fans in the entire NFL. The Green Bay Packers are the only NFL team to be (primarily) owned by a city’s citizens through a nonprofit corporation. As a result, many of the attendees at Lambeau Field games are some of the only sports fans in the world who can accurately refer to their favorite team with possessives — it is their team.

NBA

The recent success of Wisconsin’s lone NBA team — the 2021 NBA champs — has certainly generated more fans of the Milwaukee Bucks. As it stands, the Milwaukee team sits in the upper echelon of NBA squads.

MLB

Although Wisconsin is a football state through and through, there are still plenty of fans of Wisconsin’s Major League Baseball team. The Milwaukee Brewers have been around for over 50 years and have had many big moments, albeit without a World Series victory.

NHL

NHL loyalties in Wisconsin are divided due to the state’s absence of a top hockey team. Despite Wisconsin’s established hockey pedigree (with numerous NCAA championships from the Wisconsin Badgers), there is no NHL equivalent of the Packers, Bucks or Brewers in the state. There are, however, a couple of nearby options:

NCAA

Besides the Packers, no team may be more popular in the state than the University of Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten conference. The Badgers own one of the top programs in the country in men’s football and basketball and enjoy a fiercely loyal following from Wisconsinites. However, bettors cannot wager on their beloved Badgers as the state’s casinos do not accept bets on in-state collegiate programs or events.

Other types of gambling in Wisconsin

Sports betting is active in Wisconsin in a limited context, but it is not the only type of gambling available in the state. Plenty of ways to place a bet in Wisconsin, regardless of where you live.

Casinos

Although there are no commercial casinos in Wisconsin, there are plenty of tribal-owned locations. There are more than two dozen casinos in the state. Some of these outlets are merely a home for a smattering of slot machines. Others are full-service locations with slots, table games, poker, bingo and keno. The bingo options are of particular note, as some casinos offer high-stakes options that are rarely available in other states. Some of the casinos in the state include the Bad River Lodge & Casino in Odanah and the Legendary Waters Resort Casino in Red Cliff

Online gambling

You can legally play online casino games in Wisconsin — sort of. Much like you can access an online sportsbook in a few small areas of Wisconsin, an online casino-like app is available at one of the other casino properties in the state. Lake of the Torches Resort Casino in Lac du Flambeau offers instant games through a special app. 

For the most part, the games function in the same manner as online lottery scratchers.

Horse betting

Wisconsin is not home to any horse tracks at this time. Consequently, there are no locations to observe live horse races or place pari-mutuel wagers on the races. Some harness races occur sporadically at county fairs, but no stable live racing venue is in service.

Wisconsin is home to two off-track betting locations, each at a state casino. However, neither OTB is open for business at this time. Furthermore, representatives from both facilities could not give a firm estimate for when they might reopen. 

People in Wisconsin can also bet on horses online. Many legal sites offer odds on horse races around the country and, depending on the site, internationally. 

Daily fantasy sports

Daily fantasy sports contests exist in a sort of void in the law. No law permits companies like FanDuel or DraftKings to operate in Wisconsin, but there is no law prohibiting them from doing so, either. Most of the major DFS sites operate and accept players in Wisconsin. We will update this info if it changes. 

Lottery

The Wisconsin Lottery offers many games to the state’s residents and visitors. Mega Millions and Powerball are both available to Wisconsinites and other draw games specific to Wisconsin. Instant win games or scratchers are also available throughout the state.

Wisconsin Sports Betting Alternatives

Daily fantasy sports and social sportsbooks are available in Wisconsin. Learn more about Wisconsin DFS, social sportsbooks, and the available promotions and bonus codes from operators like PrizePicks, Underdog, and Fliff by clicking the links below.

Wisconsin sports betting timeline

2023: The Forest County Potawatomi Community opens self-serve sports betting kiosks at two casino-based sportsbooks: The Potawatomi Casino in downtown Milwaukee and the Potawatomi Casino in Carter.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community strike a deal with the Kambi Group to provide a full suite of sports betting services to the tribe’s Milwaukee sportsbook.

2021: The Oneida Indian Nation begins offering sports betting in Wisconsin after reaching a tribal compact with the state. The tribe opens a sportsbook at Oneida Casino complex in the Green Bay area.

The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin reach a compact deal with the state.

Wisconsin sports betting FAQ

Who regulates sports betting in Wisconsin?

So far, the Oneida Indian Nation, St. Croix Chippewa, and Potawatomi Nation. Since these are the only groups to offer sports betting in Wisconsin, the language in their amendments is all the regulation so far.

Is statewide sports betting coming to Wisconsin?

There’s no indication that a statewide legalization in Wisconsin is imminent. There have been no moves to legalize sports betting in the Wisconsin Legislature worthy of note, and the most recent legislative session produced no action on the issue whatsoever. 

How old do you have to be to bet on sports?

The Oneidas require you to be 21 or older to bet on sports. 

Do you have to be inside Wisconsin to bet?

Yes. You can place wagers at any of the in-person locations throughout the state or online while at a One-Stop location.

Do you have to be a Wisconsin resident to bet?

No. Anyone who is 21 or older and in one of the betting areas may place sports wagers in Wisconsin. There is no residency requirement.

Why can I find online sportsbooks that say they are legal in Wisconsin?

Such online sportsbooks reside in a legal gray area. Because Wisconsin law does not specifically outlaw online sports betting, these outlets offer their services in legal limbo. These sportsbooks are based outside the United States. Given the lack of legal oversight by any US or state authority, playing on these sportsbooks opens the possibility of losing your deposit, having withdrawals refused or having your identity stolen or sold. Don’t risk it — stick to Wisconsin’s legal sports betting options.