Wisconsin is an interesting place for casino-goers because, on its surface, the state appears to be absent of any real gambling opportunities. In reality, however, there is a wide range of casinos and other brick and mortar locations that can facilitate all types of casino games, from table games, to slots, and everything in between. Perhaps the best example of Wisconsin’s interesting gambling environment is the fact that pari-mutuel betting is available, however there are no racetracks at which you can wager.
Though confusing, the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of casino-style gambling options for you to pursue.
Online Gambling in Wisconsin
Participating in an unlawful game of chance with money involved is a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, but the relevant regulations never refer specifically to online play. As a result, it’s impossible to determine whether this rule extends to internet games without a legal precedent. Unfortunately, the local courts never had to deal with such a case, so the legal status of offshore sites remains ambiguous. On a brighter note, with so many online gamblers around, this does say a lot about how interested the local authorities are in actually trying to go after offshore sites’ customers.
Inexperienced gamblers usually end up going for the first iGaming platform that catches their attention, which unfortunately sometimes gets them involved with rather mediocre sites. If you want to avoid making this mistake, you should research as many sites as you can and go for the most advantageous offers. If you want to find a high-quality poker room, you should focus your attention on high-traffic sites, as they offer better cash games and more tournament action than their niche counterparts.
Casino enthusiasts, on the other hand, should pay close attention to bonuses and game selection, while sports betting aficionados should try looking for sites that outclass the competition in terms of prices, event coverage or live in-play betting opportunities. If you don’t want to do this research yourself, you could always check out some of our recommended sites. All of them have been thoroughly tested by our iGaming experts, which guarantees that they adhere to the highest standards in terms of safety and quality.
Bad River Lodge & Casino
Grindstone Creek Casino
Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls
Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison
Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa
Ho-Chunk Gaming Tomah
Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells
Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg
Hole in the Wall Casino & Hotel
Irene Moore Activity Center
Legendary Waters Resort & Casino
Lac Courte Oreilles Casino, Lodge & Convention Center
Lake of the Torches
Little Turtle Hertel Express
Mason Street Casino
Menominee Casino Resort
North Star Mohican Casino Resort
Mole Lake Casino & Lodge
Oneida Bingo Casino
Potawatomi Northern Lights Bingo & Casino
St. Croix Casino
Gambling in Wisconsin
Land-based gambling in Wisconsin is essentially all about the local tribal casinos, which shouldn’t be all that surprising since the Badger State doesn’t have any commercial gambling establishments. In addition, Wisconsin offers pari-mutuel betting, which is available at the local racetracks, as well as some forms of charitable gambling and a state-controlled lottery. Unfortunately, Wisconsin doesn’t have a regulated iGaming market, which means that offshore sites are the only option available to the local online gambling aficionados.
Casinos in Wisconsin
Since 1988, states have been required to negotiate casino compacts with Native American tribes. Wisconsin founded the Office of Indian Gaming Regulatory Compliance in 1992 – since then, casino gambling has been legal in the state.
Eleven tribes have since taken advantage of their opportunity to open a Class III casino, and Wisconsin is now home to more than 20 tribal casinos.
Commercial casinos that are not affiliated with a native tribe or located on tribal land remain illegal.
The largest gambling establishment is the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. Located in the southwest part of Wisconsin, it hosts more than 2,500 slot machines, 100 table games (including blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat), a 20-table poker room open 24 hours a day, nine different places to eat and drink, a 500-seat theater, and a 381-room hotel.
There is also a casino in Madison and three more located in Green Bay. The establishments are spread out over 16 counties and stretch north to Lake Superior and west to Danbury near the Minnesota border.
Most casinos in the state are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patrons must be at least 21 years old.
Online gambling is illegal in Wisconsin.
Tribal/Native American Casinos
Thanks to a Federal Act that was passed towards the end of the 1980s, Native American tribes are allowed to pursue their own brick and mortar casinos so long as the state government approves it. In Wisconsin, the state has approved measures for tribal casinos. Unfortunately, this is the only type of casino that exists in the state. There are no other commercial casinos located anywhere in Wisconsin, but you can rest-assured knowing that there is a wealth of tribal gaming locations.
Wisconsin Sportsbooks & Sports betting
“Sports gaming is prohibited by the Wisconsin Constitution, state law, and is not allowed under the state-tribal compacts. Today’s Supreme Court ruling does not affect Wisconsin law.”
This statement came from Steven Michels, a Department of Administration spokesperson, following the Supreme Court’s ruling that permitted individual states to legalize sports gambling.
If Wisconsin was motivated to make sports betting legal, the easiest workaround would be to adjust the tribal gaming charter. This would not require any changes to the constitution. However, the state would only be required to renegotiate terms with its 11 tribes if it allowed others to engage in legal sports gambling.
There is no indication of this happening any time soon.
Fantasy sports gambling and eSports
For the past two years, the state of Wisconsin has been trying to pass a law that would both legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports. The regulation side of things appears to be causing the holdup; most lawmakers as well as the state’s Attorney General are happy to consider DFS skill-based – and thus legal – gambling.
The most recent attempts were Senate Bill 436 and Assembly Bill 526, which both failed to pass in March of 2018 after a series of fiscal impact studies were released. It is unclear if and when another attempt to pass a law will be pursued.
In the meantime, lawmakers in Wisconsin have made no attempts to shut down access to DFS sites, so all major companies are operating within the state. Because all efforts have been geared toward legalizing DFS, the next expected step is full access.
Gambling on eSports remains illegal.
Horse racing is legal in Wisconsin. However, there are no more permanent tracks in operation. Harness racing has a long history in the state, and you can still attend live harness racing during the summer fair season.
Off-track betting is also legal in the state, but it’s difficult to come by as well. You can watch simulcast racing and place bets on horse and greyhound races from across the country at:
- Potawatomi Hotel & Casino (Milwaukee): Open seven days a week, closes after the last race. 115 TVs, 87 carrels, betting terminals, and self-service stations.
- Oneida Casino (Green Bay): Open five days a week (Wed-Sun) from 11 am to 8 pm. Plasma TVs around the perimeter, 28 private carrels.
The last greyhound race to be held in Wisconsin was on December 31, 2009 at Dairyland Greyhound Track in Kenosha.
To place a pari-mutuel bet, you must be at least 18 years old.
Wisconsin Poker Games
Poker can be found at the following tribal casinos:
- Oneida Casino (Green Bay): Eight tables, open Monday to Saturday, weekly promotions and tournaments
- Sevenwinds Casino (Hayward): Five tables, open Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday
- Lake of the Torches Resort Casino (Lac Du Flambeau): Open Thursday through Saturday
- St. Croix Casino (Turtle Lake): Open Thursday through Sunday
- Potawatomi Hotel & Casino: Twenty tables open 24/7, tournaments four days a week, poker room massages offered for $1.50 a minute
You must be at least 21 years old to play. There are no legal poker rooms located anywhere off tribal land. Unlike in many other states, poker games held at private homes are not exempt from this law, although prosecution appears non-existent.
The Wisconsin Lottery has been around since 1988 and uses its revenue to give state residents property tax relief. Along with scratch-offs, you can play the following draw games:
- Pick 3
- Pick 4
- Badger 5
- 5 Card Cash
- Mega Millions (multi-state)
- Powerball (multi-state)
All tickets must be purchased at an authorized retail outlet, and all winnings must be claimed within 180 days. You must be at least 18 to play.
Along with several bingo halls and games hosted at tribal casinos, authorized non-profit charities can obtain a license to hold bingo games as fundraisers. The following regulations apply to such events:
- $500 is the maximum payout per game
- $2,500 is the maximum payout per event
- There is no entry fee, and cards cannot be sold for more than $1
- All players must be 18 or have a legal guardian present
Outside of the tribal casinos, bingo offerings in the state are few and far between.
Wisconsin Casino History
When Wisconsin was officially sanctioned as a state back in the mid-1800s, there were strong anti-gambling sentiments. To this day, many of the statutes that were created in the 19th century are still in effect. Over the years there have been some small changes made to allow individual forms of gambling, however widespread, legalized casinos are something that still seem like a foreign concept to most Wisconsinites.
Pari-mutuel betting became legal around the same time that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed and approved. This was a big move for Wisconsin, but one that was about 50 years behind other states. To put this in perspective, most states that currently offer pari-mutuel betting at horse and greyhound tracks instituted those measures back in the 1930s. The move to legalize pari-mutuel wagering was, in theory, a good one. In practice, however, it ended up not having much of an impact on the gambling industry in the state seeing as, by 2009, all horse and dog tracks in the state had closed. To this day, pari-mutuel wagering exists, however there is nowhere to place bets.
In 1988, the Federal government of the United States passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Within a few years, Native American tribes had agreed to compacts with the state that allowed them to begin constructing brick and mortar casinos. There are now 11 tribal casinos in the state.
Though there are no commercial casinos that are not owned by Native tribes, the state does have card rooms where poker games can be played. This is a relief to some, but leaves a lot of other casino players out in the cold. As far as what the future holds, it does not seem as though Wisconsin is in any hurry to alter the legal scope of casinos and casino-style gambling.
Wisconsin Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
When you make the decision regarding the site that you want to join everything that’s left is signing up for a new gambling account, making a deposit and waiting for the site’s staff to verify your personal details. In order to finalize this one last step, you’ll usually be required to submit a scan of a photo ID. This procedure might take up to 48 hours, but you won’t have to undergo another check ever again.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
Requesting a payout is even easier and more convenient than making a deposit. Requests of this kind tend to be processed within 2 days or less. Most sites use wire transfers when handling transactions of this kind, which means that your winnings should take less than two weeks to arrive.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Wisconsin?
The minimum age to play on Wisconsin-friendly iGaming sites is 18.
How do I open an account?
If you want to open an account, you’ll have to fill out a simple registration form and confirm your identity by providing the site’s staff with a photograph or scan of an ID document.
Where can I open my account from?
West Virginia residents don’t have to be physically present within the borders of the state in order to open an iGaming account. Some sites might even allow registration from abroad.
From where can I access Wisconsin online gambling sites?
Wisconsin sites can be accessed from anywhere in the country, but keep in mind that playing real money games in states like Washington or Utah isn’t the best idea due to strong anti-iGaming laws.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Wisconsin?
You’ll find the most important information in Section 945 of the Wisconsin Code.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
Most experts recommend using standard credit or debit cards. Visa and MasterCard tend to be very reliable, but many players have reported some issues with American Express cards in the past.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
Wisconsin-friendly sites usually allow you to choose between a wire transfer and a check by courier.
Is my money safe?
Your money is guaranteed to be safe with all the sites listed here, as all of them have been thoroughly tested by our experts and are considered to be trustworthy by the local gambling community.
What body regulates gambling in Wisconsin?
Regulated gambling in Wisconsin area is managed by Wisconsin Div. of Admin-Gaming and the Wisconsin Lottery.