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Sports betting is legal in Wisconsin
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Unfortunately for sports fans in the Badger State, sports betting is not legal in Wisconsin and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.
There is no legislation currently in the works in Wisconsin and future legalization will require an amendment to the state constitution.
In this guide, we’ll explore all the relevant points in the discussion around legal sports betting in Wisconsin, including:
On top of that, we’ll look at if it’s legal to bet on daily fantasy sports in Wisconsin and which Wisconsin online sportsbooks we expect to one day enter the market.
Consider this your complete guide to betting on sports in Wisconsin.
While many states have some flexibility in legalizing sports betting, Wisconsin actually has anti-sports gambling laws written right into its constitution. That means even if the movement gains momentum, an amendment to the state constitution will probably be necessary before legal betting can begin.
The good news is lawmakers have already touched on the topic of adding sports gambling to the 2019 agenda.
Wisconsin has 19 tribal casinos that offer a full range of slots, casino table games, and bingo. Having a land-based casino infrastructure can definitely make legalizing sports betting more straightforward.
If a sports betting bill eventually passes, along with an amendment to the state constitution, we expect in-person sportsbooks to start popping up at existing casinos. Depending on the state’s decisions towards online betting, we’d then see those same sportsbooks start to release online betting sites and apps.
It is not currently legal to bet on sports in Wisconsin and given the state’s slow reactions in the past, legal sports betting is going to take some time.
Thanks to a landmark Supreme Court ruling in May of 2018, every state has the freedom to create its own laws around sports gambling.
Many states already had sports betting legislation in the works and were able to start accepting legal bets right away. Other states got off to a slower start but eventually filed sports betting bills of their own. The last group of states, including Wisconsin, hasn’t even left the gate.
The biggest challenges include developing the necessary legislation plus a resolution to amend the constitution. This would also require a public referendum on whether Wisconsinites actually want legal sports betting.
The main factor working in favor of legal sports betting is financial. Other states that have nurtured their new sports betting industries are bringing in huge amounts of new revenue through taxes and licensing fees.
Wisconsin has always been a bit behind its neighbors when it comes to gambling. While most states had established horse and greyhound pari-mutuel wagering industries by the mid-1930s, Wisconsin didn’t join the party until 1987. And that’s just one example of how it’s been slow on the draw.
Check out the following key points in Wisconsin’s gambling history and you might spot a trend:
Currently, there are precisely zero places to make legal bets on sports, regardless of whether you want to bet in person or on the internet.
Since Wisconsin has an extensive network of casinos already, it’s unclear whether the state will choose to allow online betting. Some states have restricted sports gambling to in-person wagering at physical sportsbooks while others have included online betting options as well.
One common practice is for existing casinos to partner with companies that are already well-established in the online sports betting world. We’ve seen this happen to a large extent in New Jersey with worldwide online betting brands like BetStars and 888sport.
Since sports betting is illegal, sports fans in Wisconsin can’t bet on any sports at all. It’s particularly painful for Wisconsinites who are absolutely mad about their local teams, especially the Green Bay Packers who are currently rebuilding the franchise under general manager Brian Gutekunst’s strategic drafting strategies.
If legal betting does become available, gamblers in Wisconsin will be able to bet on an extensive menu of sports, leagues, and teams, including:
On top of having the Packers, Wisconsinites are also passionate about Milwaukee’s BrewCrew and its revamped Bucks squad.
If the future has sports betting in the cards, and they strike negotiations with the NCAA, there is no doubt that the Badgers basketball, football, and baseball teams will see plenty of betting action thrown their way as well.
Right now it’s not legal to bet on daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Wisconsin. The good news is that DFS betting is quite a bit further along in terms of legislation.
A bill has already been filed in an attempt to license and sanction DFS but it has yet to be signed into official law.
State lawmakers have expressed an open attitude towards legal DFS betting, provided it’s regulated by the state. Check back for updates as things develop in 2019.
If and when online sportsbooks start accepting players from Wisconsin there will be lots of special bonuses and promotions. Offers may include free bets and no deposit bonuses but we’ll have to wait and see how things develop.
As more states see legal sports betting explode in popularity, the financial opportunity that this new industry represents is becoming more apparent.
However, at the moment all we know for sure is that legalized sports betting will be a topic of discussion at assembly meetings and among lawmakers at the beginning of 2019.
Even with big incentives, Wisconsin has its work cut out for it. Big obstacles include passing legislation, amending the constitution and holding a state-wide referendum.
On the other hand, there’s also the outside chance that the entire issue of legislation and constitutional amendment could be side-stepped by the tribal casinos renegotiating their agreements to include sports betting.
This has happened in other states and could be an option since tribal lands are not subject to US gambling law in the same way.
The way we see it, there are really three possible outcomes at this point.
Regardless of how this story plays out, you’ll be able to stay up to date by checking back on this page.
If you’re wondering about the sports betting laws in other parts of the US, check out our complete state guides.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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