Is Sports Betting Legal in Wisconsin?

A lot of states seem to have a pretty clear path to legalized sports betting. In most states, it either takes a bill in the state congress, a constitutional amendment, or just somebody to ignite the discussion. In Wisconsin, it seems to be a little bit different. The state does prohibit sports betting, but the state’s agreement with the Indian tribes that operate the state’s casinos also prohibits sports betting. That means that it would take two different bits of legislation to get wagering in Wisconsin.

Or would it? In the May 14 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an unnamed source said that the Indian tribes would just need an amendment to the gaming contracts. It is a rather cloudy picture. Wisconsin hasn’t really had an expansion of gambling since the tribes started building their gaming centers and it would be tough for the state or the Wisconsin Lottery to do something independent of the tribes given the compact between the two sides.

Therefore, there are balls all over the court rather than one ball on one side of the court. A discussion should and will be opened, but nobody really knows where it will lead. To date, Wisconsin really hasn’t moved in either direction. There have been a lot of negative sentiments from all sides, though, about what it will mean in terms of revenue for the state.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to money. Whatever hoops must be jumped through and whatever hurdles must be overcome, if the money is there, it will happen.


Recent News About Sports Betting

Governor Scott Walker doesn’t seem to think that it will happen, as he talked about the topic of legalized sports betting on Wisconsin Public Radio. had some quotes and a video segment on what legalized sports betting could mean for Wisconsin.

Urban Milwaukee touched on some of the complexities with the provisions already on the books in the state constitution and also about the different tribes that operate casinos.



It doesn’t appear that sports betting will be coming to Wisconsin anytime soon. The last link above did reference a study commissioned by the Native American tribes that came back with some lackluster results. Wisconsin just isn’t a big gambling state and that seems to come through with the laissez-faire attitude from all sides of the legalized sports betting discussion.


Neighboring States