The start of 2022 has brought with it big changes to the state of Wisconsin. Residents can now place legal sports bets...sort of. Only one casino currently owns the right to operate as a legal sportsbook, and you need to show up in person to place your wager. Will other casinos have the chance to join them? And will Wisconsin ever pivot to online sports betting? Let's take a look.
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Until now, betting on sports in Wisconsin was not able to be done domestically. Though online sports betting is legal in the USA for many states, Wisconsin isn't one of them. And yet, with a recent change in policy, the tides appear to be moving in a different direction.
As of the start of 2022, Wisconsin now allows legal sports betting...in one place. That may sound inconvenient, and for many residents throughout the state who don't live near the lone casino with a licensed sportsbook, it is a hassle. But if there's one place to bet on sports legally in Wisconsin, there will soon have to be another.
Where Is Sports Betting Legal in Wisconsin?
As of now, the Oneida Casino in Green Bay, Wisconsin is the only place in the state accepting legal sports bets after amending their gaming contract. They have since opened up 20 betting kiosks to accommodate the onrush of customers, and they apparently plan to open a more official sportsbook, with a lounge and all, by this time next year.
Green Bay was, of course, a natural starting point for sports betting in Wisconsin. It is one of the more major city hubs, second only to Milwaukee, and it's also home to the state's singular biggest sports draw, in the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.
This has served as a good time for the Oneida Casino to test the sports wagering waters. They're getting a ton of foot traffic because everyone's in a rush to bet on Super Bowl 56.
Both casino operators and state officials have been impressed with the early revenue being taken in since the start of January alone. The casino's license officially took effect at the beginning of November but in more of a soft opening. A lion's share of their business has taken place in the early aughts of 2022.
This all begs the question: Why are sports betting only legal here?
Will More Casinos Open Sportsbooks in Wisconsin?
Though Oneida Casino is the only sports-betting game in town, for the time being, this won't be the status quo forever. Wisconsin is currently in the process of reviewing sports betting licenses for other casinos in the state, including the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, which has been the most aggressive in pursuing the rights to accept sports bets.
Nothing official is in the works as of now, but experts don't expect the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, which is located in Milwaukee, to face much opposition to their pleas. A precedent has obviously been set with the Oneida Casino, and the state, in general, has softened a previously hard-line stance opposing the legalization of sports betting.
It remains to be seen when another casino will get to unveil their own sportsbook, though. Potential timelines haven't even been floated. The entire process behind securing the necessary gaming license can take time. Our guess is the next casino in Wisconsin won't be greenlit to accept sports wagers in person before 2023.
Will Sports Betting Ever Be Legal Online in Wisconsin?
As you may have noticed, Wisconsin's current sports-betting setup hasn't yet warmed up to online sports betting. Residents should still take a look at our reviews of the top online sportsbooks to find the best betting sites that'll accept their wagers, but Wisconsin has yet to approve any official online gaming licenses.
On the bright side, we have to assume this will change.
The Oneida Casino already has plans to roll out its own mobile sports betting app sometime before 2023. That should open the door for other licenses to be handed out to any casinos that also snag gaming licenses.
What's not yet clear is whether Wisconsin will consider larger gaming operations that specialize in online sports betting across multiple states. We're talking about FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and companies of this ilk. They are normally at the top of the list when it comes to bidding for online gaming licenses, a process that Wisconsin hasn't started.
That doesn't mean the state won't. They probably want to see how their on-site betting plays out at the Oneida Casino and, eventually, other spots. There has also been talking of awarding licenses to certain venues that could accept sports bets at events such as NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB games.
When Could Online Betting Come to Wisconsin?
All of these changes will not take place in Wisconsin overnight. Certain legislation still needs to be passed, and the process of accepting applications for sports betting licenses, reviewing them, choosing the recipients, and working with the companies to set up online infrastructures and processes can take quite a bit of time. We're talking for more than a year.
With all of that said, Wisconsin isn't starting from scratcher. Their decision to allow on-site betting, in some form, puts them ahead of the curve. Wisconsin will also be familiar with some scale of online betting once the Oneida Casino drops its own sports betting app sometime in the next year.
At this rate, we wouldn't be surprised if online sports betting is fully legal throughout the state of Wisconsin before the end of the next year.
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find the right spot for all your remote sports betting: