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First Wisconsin Sportsbook Targeting November Opening

First Wisconsin Sportsbook Targeting November Opening article feature image

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Lambeau Field.

Wisconsin’s first legal sportsbook is targeting a November opening, officials told The Action Network Monday.

Last week, the Federal Department of the Interior approved an updated compact struck between the Oneida Nation and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers that allows the tribe to open sportsbooks at its gaming facilities, including its main casino near Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport. Casino officials are working toward opening the Main Street Casino sportsbook as soon as it receives operating systems and equipment; a component backorder is delaying the launch, Louise Cornelius, general manager of Oneida Casino Gaming, said in an email.

Cornelius said the sportsbook’s third-party operating partner will be announced “in the very near future.”

A November opening means the casino would miss at least half of the 2021 NFL season, perennially sportsbooks’ most lucrative time of the calendar year. The Oneida Casino is the official casino partner of the Green Bay Packers and is located a few miles from Lambeau Field.

Details for Wisconsin Sports Betting

The updated gaming compact won’t permit statewide mobile wagering. The only legal betting option will be at Oneida gaming facilities, though the tribe plans to launch a mobile app that can be used within the casinos.

The coming sportsbook won’t be able to accept wagers on in-state college teams such as the University of Wisconsin or Marquette University. Bettors can wager on out-of-state Big Ten, Big East and other programs.

The Oneida Casino sportsbook will offer wagering on popular professional sports leagues including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and many others. It will also be one of the first sportsbooks in the country to accept legal wagers on major awards programs such as the Oscars.

The Main-Airport casino expects to open a temporary book by its sports bar as it works on a permanent sports betting lounge. The sportsbook will include kiosks and ticket windows.

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Future Wisconsin Sports Betting Developments

The Oneida compact is Wisconsin’s first sports betting deal. Along with the primary casino near the airport, the Oneida Nation operates three additional gaming facilities in Green Bay.

Though no other Wisconsin tribe has publicly announced sports betting plans, the Oneida’s revised compact could encourage any of the state’s other gaming tribes to pursue similar deals. There are nearly two-dozen tribal casinos across the state.

A commercial online or retail sportsbook would require an act of the legislature, which has shown little interest in taking up such legislation. This means, aside from the Oneida’s future operating partner, there are no current entryways for major brands such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, Barstool, PointsBet or any other company to earn a Wisconsin sportsbook license in the foreseeable future.

All of those aforementioned sportsbooks are available online in Iowa and Illinois, both of which share population centers along their respective borders with Wisconsin. Mobile wagering is also permitted in Michigan.

Once Wisconsin opens its first sportsbook, Minnesota will be the only neighboring state without a legal betting option.

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