Wisconsin is the latest state to join the foray into legal sports betting as Oneida Nation began taking sports bets on Tuesday, November 30. The first legal sports bet was placed at the Oneida Tribe’s main casino near Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport by “Bingo Queens” Sandra Brehmer and Alma Webster. Brehmer and Webster launched a bingo parlor 50 years ago that helped give Oneida its start in gambling operations. Now, they are placing bets on sports, as Webster placed the first legal sports wager in Wisconsin on the New Orleans Saints to defeat the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football.
Legislative Timeline in Wisconsin
On July 1, 2021, Oneida Nation announced it had agreed to an amended gaming compact with the state to add sports wagering to the scope of games the Oneida Casino can offer. The United States Department of the Interior approved the updated gaming compact in August, and Oneida Nation had initially planned on launching sports betting in time for the start of the NFL season. However, supply chain issues caused a delayed launch as the casino could not acquire and install the necessary equipment until recently. Mobile sports betting is not legal in Wisconsin, and there are no bills under consideration that would change this. However, Wisconsin will likely follow suit with a handful of neighboring states with booming mobile sports betting markets.
Oneida Casino Offerings
Now that sports betting has launched in Wisconsin, bettors can place bets at Oneida Nation’s leading casino on tribal land. Individuals can place bets using one of 20 kiosks in the corner of the casino floor or through a cashier, both of which have been made convenient to all. Vince Lombardi’s Bar and Grill is also developing a unique sports viewing experience for bettors at the casino. Bettors must be present at the casino to place a wager as mobile betting is not yet legal in Wisconsin. Sports betting is only available in the main Oneida Casino, not at the other two gaming facilities on the reservation. Oneida Nation has partnered with a company called International Gaming Technology for software and infrastructure solutions.
Future Wisconsin Plans
Wisconsin’s entry into legal sports betting has been an eventuality given the state’s prevalence of illegal sports betting. Chad Fuss, Oneida Casino’s chief financial assistant, said as much when he said, “I think we would be naive to think that [sports betting] has not been happening in Wisconsin.” In states that have legalized sports betting, customers move their business away from illegal bookies toward legal options, thereby allowing the state to benefit from taxable revenue. Now that all professional sports and college sports are available for betting in Wisconsin, aside from in-state colleges, the state can start to generate tax dollars from the activity already taking place.
Several other tribes have expressed interest in developing similarly amended gaming compacts with the state to allow them to offer sports betting. Potawatomi officials who run a casino in Milwaukee have said they will be seeking a similar compact with the state. On Tuesday, Ho-Chunk Nation, operators of multiple casinos across Wisconsin, said they plan to offer sports betting at various sites in the future. Wisconsin is a bit behind its Midwestern neighbors in Michigan, Indiana, and Iowa, all of whom launched sports betting in 2018. Still, the state is hopeful of developing a booming sports betting industry in the coming years.