A state know mainly for cattle, cold and the Green Bay Packers, many people may not know that Wisconsin is also a hotbed for producing professional poker players. The most famous of these by far is Phil Hellmuth, who has won 15 World Series of Poker titles. The bombastic poker legend is often promoting his home state, and with the types of sports fans found in the state, it is surprising to find out that Wisconsin takes such a conservative approach to gambling. Let’s investigate the current gaming laws in Wisconsin and what the future may hold for the state.
Sports Betting in Wisconsin
Let’s first look at the state’s position on sports betting. Actually, it is a standard position – it has been illegal to offer sports bets in the state. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 prohibited any state aside from Nevada from offering sports betting. However, with the massive popularity of the NFL and college football, as well as professional baseball and basketball teams, the desire to gamble on sports has been high for decades.
The sports betting landscape is ripe for change since PASPA was repealed in May 2018, and Wisconsin is one state already talking about how best to regulate the industry. It may take some time to get consensus on the topic and pass any legislation, but residents are salivating at the prospect of being able to make legal bets on the Badgers and the Packers among other sporting events.
Online Sports Betting
With such a heavy interest in sports, it is no surprise that online sportsbook has been very successful in Wisconsin for years. Offshore operators have been giving Wisconsin residents the chance to bet on sports for almost twenty years, and with nothing preventing someone from creating an account and wagering, there is unfortunately still growth in the space. Betting with offshore sportsbook is a bad idea for anyone, including Wisconsin residents, as there is no control over the fairness or honesty of the offshore online sportsbook. Wisconsin residents would be well advised to wait for local legislation to be updated and for licensed sportsbook to start operations in the state.
Once these legal sportsbooks become available our team of sports betting experts will test these sites and will write brutally honest reviews of any operator. When we recommend a site, you can be assured that we have looked at everything from the way the site looks and works on a mobile device to the types of free bets and bonuses that are offered. We also look at the bet pricing to ensure you are able to find the best options for your bets. Sports betting is hard enough from a profitability standpoint – paying a site more juice than you need to just makes it even more difficult.
Horse Betting in Wisconsin
Pari-mutuel betting in Wisconsin is in an interesting position. Wagering on horses is completely legal, but there are actually no racetracks in the state. Neighboring states do have tracks that run races, but where does that leave someone in Wisconsin that wants to place a horse racing bet? Well, there is some Off-Track betting at the casinos, but that is basically the only place you can make a bet in the state. There is no sign of a horse track opening in Wisconsin, and with the industry in decline, it is hard to say how long the OTB business will survive.
Online Horse Betting
Along with online sportsbooks, there are some options for Wisconsin residents who want to bet on the ponies. These companies, like Twinspires and DRFBets, are operating out of Oregon, but are seemingly allowed to take wagers from any state that has legal pari-mutuel racing. You can easily register for an account at these sites and then watch races from around the country via live streaming.
Casino Gambling in Wisconsin
Well, here is something positive about gambling laws in the state – there are casinos allowed in Wisconsin. Actually, casino gaming is handled by the tribal community, as it is in many other states in the country. There are currently almost 20 different gaming facilities on tribal land in Wisconsin, each with its own mix of slot machines and table games. Several also have poker rooms, which is where many of the next poker legends are being bred. There is no gaming facility in Wisconsin that is run by the state, and given the compact between the government and the tribes, it is unlikely to be any different in the future.
Online Casinos in Wisconsin
Now, the tribal groups running the land-based casinos did lobby to add online games a few years ago, but as it is not currently outlined in their compact, those efforts stalled. Until there is a change regarding the compact (which could come with sports betting being introduced), the tribes won’t be offering real money games online.
This situation won’t last long however and you can bet that online casinos will soon become legal in the state of Wisconsin.
Lottery in Wisconsin
Wisconsinites love to gamble, and this includes playing the lottery. The Wisconsin Lottery offers all kinds of draw games and scratch tickets, and this generates revenue for many different charitable causes in the state. Since the lottery was established in 1988, revenues have reached into the billions of dollars. The state has no current plans to offer online lottery games, but since some states like Illinois have taken their draw games online, it is possible that Wisconsin could follow suit in the future.
Wisconsin Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Wisconsin?
Sorry Packer fans, right now anyone taking bets on your favorite team is doing it illegally. That doesn’t mean it is illegal for you to place a bet, but there is some risk involved for sure. The repeal of PASPA by the Supreme Court will accelerate the discussion about creating a regulated market, but for now, you cannot bet on sports with any legal website or casino.
When will sports betting be legal in Wisconsin?
With gambling as a whole being so popular in the Badger state and the repeal of federal laws prohibiting sports betting outside Nevada, we think that Wisconsin will be one of the states that enact legislation in 2019. We expect to see a bill introduced before the summer. Now, will a Wisconsin resident be able to place a bet on the Packers legally before the end of 2019? Only time will tell, but if we were betting on it, we’d take that action.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Wisconsin?
Looking forward into the future, we can say that the best sportsbooks for residents of Wisconsin will be those that offer promotions targeting fans of Wisconsin teams. Some online sportsbooks are better than others at creating regional offers, and this type of targeting is likely to be a draw from Wisconsin residents. Aside from that, we think the best online sportsbooks are those that combine the best mix of bets with the best delivery methods. Today that means that a site that has a robust mobile platform and a series of in-play bets would be rising above the rest.