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Online Gambling in Wisconsin: an Expert Guide

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Gambling in Wisconsin

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Our Guide to Gambling in Wisconsin

Wisconsin gambling laws regulate an expansive tribal casino industry. The state’s lottery is over 30 years old, while it has been a part of the Powerball multistate lottery association for exactly 30 years. The state has over 9,000 charitable gambling organizations regulated by the Office of Charitable Gaming. Most midwestern states have a developed gambling industry, but Wisconsin’s gaming sector is better developed than most. At the same time, several key areas remain unregulated — including the online gambling niche.

Most of Wisconsin’s gambling laws focus on the casino industry. Wisconsin is home to some of the largest Native American tribes in the United States, including the Ojibwe and Potawatomi, the Oneida Nation, the St. Croix Chippewa, the Ho-Chunk, the Menominee, and the Dakota Sioux. With such representation, it is no surprise that the state has a large number of tribal casinos. The large number of land-based casinos means online gambling won’t be embraced anytime soon, while the tribal aspect to Wisconsin’s gambling interests means sports betting legalization will be complicated. Still, Wisconsin is a pro-gambling state.

Best Gambling Sites for Wisconsin Players

Wisconsin Online Gambling FAQ

Wisconsin Gambling Laws

Gambling is legal in the State of Wisconsin, but it is restricted to a small number of license holders. Tribal gaming authorities like the Ho-Chunk and the Potawatomi are key interests in the state. Several casinos began as tribal bingo venues back in the 1980s and early 1990s, which explains why Wisconsin’s charitable bingo industry (while existent) is not as large as in other midwestern states.

The Wisconsin Lottery is well-entrenched, beginning in 1988. Wisconsin joined the Powerball association (1989) during the time it was still called Lotto America — it didn’t change its name until 1992. That makes Wisconsin one of the early innovators in the lottery industry. The same cannot be said of the latest wave of gambling expansion, including online poker, online casinos, mobile gambling, and sports betting. Gambling is legal in Wisconsin, but only in limited areas.

Does Wisconsin Have Land-Based Casinos?

Yes. Wisconsin has 27 land-based casinos.

Yes. Wisconsin has 27 land-based casinos. Some began as bingo parlors, but have expanded over the decades to become large casino resorts.

Several Wisconsin tribes have multiple land-based casinos in the state. The tribes also hope to expand their operations in the coming years. Here is a list of the twenty-seven Wisconsin casinos.

Does Wisconsin Have Any Legal Betting Tracks / Shops?

No, though pari-mutuel wagering and simulcasting is legal in Wisconsin. The legislature legalized simulcasting in 1987 to bolster the pari-mutuel racetrack industry.

No, though pari-mutuel wagering and simulcasting is legal in Wisconsin. The legislature legalized simulcasting in 1987 to bolster the pari-mutuel racetrack industry.

The law allowed bets on horse, dog, and snowmobile races, though greyhound racing was the only live pari-mutuel racing which took place in the state. Despite the simulcasting law in 1987, none of Wisconsin’s dog tracks could sustain business.

Dairyland Greyhound Park was the last dog track when it closed in 2009 after years of financial losses. Thus, Wisconsin has legal pari-mutuel betting and the right to simulcast races from other states, but has no operating race tracks.

Does Wisconsin Allow Off-Track Betting?

Yes. Several of Wisconsin’s tribal casinos have simulcasting and off-track betting facilities.

Yes. Several of Wisconsin’s tribal casinos have simulcasting and off-track betting facilities.

The Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee has its own off-track betting facility. The casino’s OTB room has 115 televisions, 87 carrels, betting terminals, and a self-service station. The OTB Room has a smoke-free environment, as well as an adjacent smoking room. The OTB pays track odds and offer drink service.

Other Wisconsin casinos have their own OTB service. Read through our list of casinos above (and the games they offer) for a comprehensive list of off-track betting facilities.

Does Wisconsin Allow Charitable Gambling?

Yes. The Office of Charitable Gaming, which is a subdivision of the Division of Gaming, oversees over 9,000 charitable gambling organizations which hold raffles and 450 charitable bingo associations.

Yes. The Office of Charitable Gaming, which is a subdivision of the Division of Gaming, oversees over 9,000 charitable gambling organizations which hold raffles and 450 charitable bingo associations. The Office of Charitable Gaming says over 7,500 organizations hold over 10,500 licenses to hold raffles. The types of raffles include Calendar Raffles, Duck Raffles, March Madness Brackets, and Super Bowl Boards.

In a Duck Raffle, participants place a piece of paper with their information on a rubber duck, which is lowered into a body of water with all other participants’ ducks (all the same size and shape). The duck which crosses the finish line first wins.

In a Calendar Raffle, people pay a price to sign up on a particular date on a calendar. Prizes are drawn each day to determine who wins which prize. The Office of Charitable Gaming states, “Wisconsin raffle laws define a Calendar Raffle as raffle for which a drawing is held and a prize awarded on each date specified in a calendar,” then adds, “Calendars may be a single month or up to 12 months and you may list prizes and draw winners every day, every other day, weekly, biweekly, or monthly.”

Is Social Gaming Allowed in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has no legal allowance for social games. People wanting to host a poker night or casino night are warned not to do so.

Wisconsin has no legal allowance for social games. People wanting to host a poker night or casino night are warned not to do so. These events would be considered illegal poker games under Wisconsin law. You could be prosecuted for operating an illegal gambling den.

Online social casino gaming is legal, so long as the players do not engage in real money gambling. The usual list of free-to-play social casino websites are available. Lake of the Torches Resort Casino in Lac du Flambeau is tied to Play4Fun, the social casino from Mohegan Sun. The MyVegas app from MGM Resorts offers a similar gaming experience for online casino gamers in most states, but is not tied to any Wisconsin casinos.

Social gaming sites like Slotomania, Double Down Casino, Zynga Poker, and Big Fish Games are available for those who like Facebook gaming. Each allows play on your favorite social media sites, as well as in a downloadable gaming app on Google Play, Apple Apps Store, and Amazon. Games like mobile slots and poker are available.

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