Wisconsin Online Gambling Laws

Wisconsin Online Gambling lawsThe Wisconsin casino industry is large-and-healthy, despite not having that same grand reputation. Tribes in America’s Dairyland State took full advantage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory in the 1990’s and entered into agreements with the state to establish 22 Wisconsin casinos within the state borders. Horse and Dog Racing is available for off-track betting and Fantasy Sports (DFS) operate freely.

See below table for a quick overview of gambling in Wisconsin including betting on sports, online casino laws, online gambling laws etc

Gambling Type Legal Land-Based Legal Online
Sports Betting No No
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy Sports (DFS) N/A Yes
eSports No No
Poker Yes No
Horse-Racing Yes Yes
Lottery Yes No
Charitable Gambling Yes No

Wisconsin Gambling Tax Rate

There is a 7.75% tax on gambling winnings in Wisconsin.

Federal taxes may apply to large wins.

Legal Gambling Age in Wisconsin

Gambling Type Age
Casinos 21
DFS 18
Horse Racing 18
Lottery 18
Charitable Gambling 18

Sports Betting Laws in Wisconsin

The potential of enacting and drafting Wisconsin Sports Betting laws was made possible overnight in May 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the long held Federal ban of sports betting and delivered all state governments the power to self-determine on their own sports betting laws and sports betting taxes.

Sports Betting in Wisconsin

Unfortunately, gambling laws in Wisconsin prohibit sports betting in the State for operators and players alike. There are no legal Wisconsin sportsbooks and the State’s Legislators have not yet taken advantage of the loop hole provided to them by the U.S. Supreme Court to apply legal sports betting options for the state’s residents. Consequently, it appears that there is little demand for change in Wisconsin (for the time being at least). Legislators may well be looking to see how states that have already taken up the offer of legal sports betting and online sports betting progress in their respective development before making any further decisions.

Wisconsin’s sports bettors do, however, have some excellent legal sports betting options in the form of horse and greyhound racing and DFS that can be enjoyed to play legally.

Meantime, placing a wager on the state’s much-loved Green Bay Packers, or the Milwaukee Bucks or Brewers is still considered illegal until Wisconsin’s State Representatives get onboard and work together to supply the state’s residents with fully legalized sports betting.

Sports Betting Online in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is NOT one of the few American States with Legal Online Gambling, and as such, online sports betting is not a legal option for the state’s residents and visitors.

Until the time that the legal sporting betting online revolution comes to Wisconsin, sports bettors in the America’s Dairyland State can participate in legal gambling online for horse and greyhound racing, and play real money DFS competitions.

Wisconsin Casino Laws

Twenty-two Tribal Casinos make up the bulk of Wisconsin’s legal land-based gambling options and they must be located on Tribal reservations in order to be legal under Wisconsin State Law. Each tribe may enter into a gaming pact with the state and pay for licensing. Local jurisdictions must then approve the form of gambling that takes place on the land. Most local authorities approve full-scale gambling that includes slots, video poker, and table games, including live poker (eight of the casinos have a live poker room). A handful of counties only permit slots and other electronic games.

The last attempt to pass laws on the legalization of commercial casino gambling was vetoed by then Wisconsin Governor, Jim Doyle in 2007.

Online Casinos in Wisconsin

Despite a superb land-based casino industry, Wisconsin is still very much a casinos online ‘no go zone’. As is the norm in many States of the Union, Wisconsin’s State Statutes on Gambling (specifically Chapter 945)  pre-date the internet, however, they are considered broad enough to cover definitions of illegal gaming as to include online gambling.

Consequently, until Wisconsin’s State Legislators make it perfectly clear that online casino play is illegal in the State of Wisconsin, online players are advised to solely participate in LEGAL online gambling games (i.e. Currently, Horse and Greyhound Racing and DFS only).

Horse Racing Betting in Wisconsin

Horse and greyhound racing are 100% legal in Wisconsin. Licensed tracks may operate off-track betting on both types of racing, however, there are none operating at this time. Bets may also be accepted by phone, over the Internet or on mobile apps on online.

Track Side: Wisconsin’s last horse or greyhound track closed down in 2009 and there are no plans on the drawing board for opening any new tracks in the state.

Off-Track Betting (OTB) in Wisconsin

OTB Betting is permitted in Wisconsin at a network of several OTB locations.

Online Betting on Horse Racing in Wisconsin

Despite the state’s stance on online gambling, it is important to realize that Horse Racing Betting websites are legal in Wisconsin. The sites are all 100% legal, licensed and authorized under the State’s Statutes to take bets online for horse racing without any fear of breaking Wisconsin’s interpretation that online gambling is illegal.

Wisconsinites can access attractive online odds on thoroughbred racing in the U.S. and all major horse racing venues worldwide directly from their tablets, phones, other mobile devices or home computers. Most of the best and top-notch advanced horse and greyhound racing websites are simple to navigate, easy to use and given the streamlining of the latest technology on offer, they won’t chew through too much of your data plan.

Wisconsin Daily Fantasy Sports Law

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators are active in 41 states, while only 19 states have statutes formally legalizing it, despite Federal lawmakers determining that DFS competitions as contests of skill and not gambling at all.

Wisconsin falls into the second category as a state where DFS operate perfectly legally, whilst there are no state laws formally recognizing DFS. However, it hasn’t been for the lack of trying by Wisconsin’s State Legislative Representatives.

Despite the clarity on the issue at the Federal level, Wisconsin has twice attempted to legislate DFS as legal with respective bills SB 436 and A 526. Both bills have been around since the 2015-16 Legislative season and have been reintroduced annually since.

Despite both bills failing to pass in late March 2018, it appears that they remain live and could be introduced again in 2019. Its possible that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to unwind the ban on sports betting may influence the vote positively the next time around.

DFS Explained

While many of Wisconsin’s 5.8 million residents are already playing DFS on a regular basis, it’s possible that many more have no idea of what a DFS competition actually is.

A DFS competition is a unique version of sports betting that differs from a points-spread wager or a traditional win/loss sports bet. When playing a DFS competition, a ‘salary cap’ is allotted for your virtual team, which you ‘spend’ to ‘buy’ players for your DFS team.

The sports stars in each league are priced based on their real-world performances and career statistics (much the same as transfer fees work in the real sports world). A superstar quarterback like Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, for example, will probably cost a lot more of your DFS budget than a struggling Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins.

By selecting and ‘paying’ for a star like Aaron Rodgers will potentially leave a DFS contestant with much less to spend on other quality players for their fantasy team. Consistently performing players that don’t command such high ‘buy-in’ prices are the favourites of the best DFS contestants and regularly feature in the highest scoring teams.

In an NFL DFS league, participants can choose a new fantasy NFL team each day or week: they invest a fixed amount of virtual money, spending from that budget on running backs, receivers, defensive linemen, a quarterback etc., with each player coming with their own price tag, set internally by the fantasy sports sites. Points are accumulated based the performances of the players in the real-life games.

Massive prize money is collated from the ‘prize pool’ that is funded by the millions of player’s minimal entry fees of only a few dollars for each competition.

Winners of daily, weekly or season-long DFS competitions can potentially win as much as $1 million for each of the DFS competitions (across NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MMA, PGA Tour Golf and college football and basketball).

Poker Laws in Wisconsin

Eight of Wisconsin’s 22 Tribal Casino offer Live Poker Rooms. 63 tables are on offer in total and game options include; Texas Hold’em, 7 Card Stud, Omaha, Limit Hold’em, No Limit Hold’em, Mixed Games, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pot Limit Omaha.

Online Poker Laws in Wisconsin

Online Poker is specifically considered to be illegal in Wisconsin under the State Statutes, Chapter 945.

See above sections ‘Sports Betting Online in Wisconsin’ and ‘Online Casinos in Wisconsin’ for further information on online gambling in the state.

Wisconsin eSports Betting

As one of new generation of ‘family-friendly’ betting options unsoiled by the illegal past, eSports betting will offer a new and fresh form of gambling when Wisconsin takes up legal betting on sports.

‘eSports’ explained

eSports are organized professional tournaments where the players – or ‘athletes’ as they’re now known – compete against each other in multiplayer video games. eSports have been around as long as multiplayer video games have, emerging from the underground LAN parties of the early 21st century. However, with improvements in online streaming services and the role of international sportsbooks for betting purposes, have seen them explode in popularity.

The most popular games are first-person shooters (FPS) like the Call of Duty franchise, real-time strategy games like Starcraft II, sports games like FIFA and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games such as League of Legends and Dota 2. No matter the game type, all versions draw huge crowds and the prizes continue to get richer and viewership numbers erupt.

Typically, when big prize money is on offer, sports-bettors are not far away. A full complement of international bookmakers now set extensive and impressive betting markets on several of the competitive global eSports tours.

Watch for eSports to become available soon at your favorite long awaited legal Wisconsin sportsbook.

Gambling’s Benefits to Wisconsin

  • Gambling is valuable source income for the State of Wisconsin’s Native American tribes and it continues to bring thousands of jobs, better health outcomes, and unprecedented economic growth and prosperity to Tribal communities.
  • More than 15 000 people are directly employed in the Wisconsin State Gambling Industry.
  • Since its establishment in 1988, the Wisconsin State Lottery has paid out prizes of $7.88 billion to the state’s residents to feed back into the economy and a further $6.9 billion has been raised to go into the state’s consolidated revenue.
  • Since the Wisconsin State Lottery began in 1988, over $3.3 billion has been returned to taxpayers in the state as property tax credits.
  • Gambling in Wisconsin has contributed at least $167 million per year into the State Budget annually for the last 5 years.

History of Gambling in Wisconsin

1848; Wisconsin’s original State Constitution bans all forms of gambling.

1858; State Legislation in Wisconsin makes all gambling debts uncollectible.

1965; Wisconsin voters approve participation in promotional contests.

1973-77; Various forms of charitable gambling (specifically bingo and raffles) legalized in Wisconsin.

1987; Horse Racing Betting legalized in America’s Dairyland State and the Wisconsin State Lottery is established in the same year.

1992; Tribal Casinos open for the first time in Wisconsin.

2007; Last attempt to legislate legal commercial casino gambling in Wisconsin vetoed by then Governor Jim Doyle.

2009; The last operating race track in Wisconsin closes its doors.

2015 to the Present; Several attempts to legalize DFS under respective bills SB 436 and A 526 fail. The bills are still live and maybe presented again to the Wisconsin State Legislators for consideration in the future.



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