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Legal Wisconsin Online Gambling, Poker & Casinos

The state of Wisconsin has changed its stance towards the US gambling industry considerably since its inauguration into the Union in 1848. After outlawing all forms of gambling some 170 years ago, today it has legalized traditional casino gambling, state-operated lottery games and gambling games for charitable purposes.

Some 22 tribal casinos are in operation throughout Wisconsin, which contributes towards annual revenues of over $1 billion for the state economy.

Pari-mutuel betting on horse and dog racing is permitted at off-track betting terminals only, but poker remains explicitly prohibited as it is deemed a game of luck and chance.

Wisconsin Gambling Laws - Summary and Look to the Future

Clause 6 of Section 945.01 of Wisconsin's penal code prohibits online gambling operators providing means for its residents to place online wagers. However, this does not mean that residents cannot play in the privacy of their own home at regulated offshore sites.

The biggest hurdle for online bettors to overcome is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which prevents financial institutions from accepting and processing payments linked to online gambling. However, the state-of-the-art world we live in today means that many offshore iGaming firms permit the use of e-wallets to bypass the need for debit and credit cards.

Wisconsin Gambling Laws - A Brief History

  • 1848 - State agrees to outlaw all forms of gambling.
  • 1950 - State permits limited forms of gambling for charitable purposes only.
  • 1987 - State legalizes pari-mutuel betting.
  • 1992 - State signs inaugural casino contracts with North American tribal groups.
  • 2009 - Wisconsin's last remaining thoroughbred race track forced to shut down.

What Types of Gambling are Legal in Wisconsin?

  • Casino Gambling –There are many tribal casinos in Wisconsin and they have all of the traditional and most popular casino games. Only a small number of counties in Wisconsin only allow slots or other electronic games at their casinos.
  • Sports Betting- Sports betting on horse racing and dog racing is legal in Wisconsin but there hasn’t been any recent bill introduced to expand into other forms of sports betting. You can follow any developments in Wisconsin sports betting here.
  • Online Betting – Since there is no live horse racing in Wisconsin the only way to bet the horses and the dogs for that matter is online You can follow all of the news regarding online gambling in Wisconsin here.
  • Daily Fantasy – All of the major DFS sites like Fanduel and Draft Kings operate in Wisconsin and there hasn’t been any challenge from the lawmakers in the state.
  • Poker – Poker is legal in Wisconsin and there are 8 poker rooms currently operating in the state. Poker is legal in any jurisdiction in the state where table games are permitted.
  • Bingo – Bingo is legal in Wisconsin for charities that have been in existence at least 3 years. The maximum prize pool for a bingo game in Wisconsin is $500 and the maximum nightly prize pool is $2,500.
  • Lottery – The Wisconsin Lottery offers tickets for lotto draws as well as pull tabs and scratch off tickets. All lottery sales in Wisconsin are made through retailers.
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