Last updated: June 1, 2020
Status: So far, there have been no plans to introduce legal sports betting into Wisconsin. This may change in the future, but there would be many legal hurdles to clear before sports wagering can be launched in the Badger State.
ETA: Right now, there are no plans in place to bring sports betting to Wisconsin, and we could be looking at many years before that stance is changed.
While many other American states have been scrambling to pass sports betting bills in order to take a slice of the estimated $150 billion illegal sports gambling industry, Wisconsin has remained unmoved.
Some states are already up and running while others are very close to bringing the activity to law. There are sports fans up and down the country legally wagering on sports at official outlets and via online sportsbooks.
The problem for Wisconsin is that their constitution prohibits gambling, so any bill would have to pass through two consecutive sessions of the legislature and then be approved by a statewide public referendum. Getting to that stage could be tricky, and there is likely to be plenty of opposition along the way.
Another option would be to add sports betting to tribal casino operations, but the tribes have shown little appetite for re-negotiating their current arrangements. The 11 recognized tribes currently run 25 gaming establishments in the state generating over a billion dollars in revenue. The tribes have discussed the issue amongst themselves, but no talks with state representatives have been held.
Wisconsin could one day allow sports wagering within its borders, but there is no sense of urgency to join the race to be among the first. It is a case of one step at a time for the state’s lawmakers.
Way back in 1848, all forms of gambling were banned in Wisconsin. This remained the case until charitable gaming was permitted in 1973. The new law allowed bingo and raffle type games to be organized under strict rules and regulations.
The state was also late to the party when it came to pari-mutuel betting. Decades after most states had legalized the activity, Wisconsin finally gave the green light in 1987. Horse and greyhound tracks were opened, but their popularity declined, with the last track closing its gates in 2009, although on-track betting remains legal even if there is nowhere in the state to currently bet.
A state lottery was launched in 1988 featuring draws, scratch-cards and pull-tab games. Multi-state games such as Powerball and Mega Millions were officially added in 2010.
The state’s 25 casinos are all operated by the 11 tribal groups in accordance with the Federal Indian Gaming Regulation Act of 1988. They offer a full range of table games as well as poker.
No, sports betting is illegal in Wisconsin.
No organization controls sports betting in the state.
It is illegal for anyone to bet on sports in Wisconsin.
There is nowhere to bet legally on sports in Wisconsin.
There are no sports betting license holders in the state.
There are no operators currently offering legal sports wagering in Wisconsin.
There are no plans to offer mobile betting in Wisconsin.
An Oxford Economics report estimates Wisconsin could make $340 million a year in revenue from sports betting.
There are no proposed sports betting bills so no rate of tax has been set.
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