The newest option for sports betting in Wisconsin will be in the city where the NBA’s Bucks and MLB’s Brewers play.
On Feb. 18, the Forest County Potawatomi Community signed an agreement with Gov. Tony Evers to amend the existing gaming compact, thus allowing sports betting at the tribe’s two casinos, the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee and at its casino in Forest County, about 200 miles north.
The Milwaukee location, on Canal Street, is less than 2 miles from the Fiserv Forum, home of the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks, and about the same distance from American Family Field where the Brewers play.
The first tribal casino in Wisconsin to take legal sports bets was the Oneida Nation casino in Green Bay, home of the NFL’s Packers.
That casino launched sports betting in November, in time to catch part of NFL season.
The second casino in the state with legal sports betting was the St. Croix Chippewa facility in Turtle Lake in western Wisconsin.
But the newest option will be the most convenient one for sports bettors in Milwaukee, by far the state’s largest city with a population of 586,500, according to World Population Review. Sports betting is expected to launch at the Potawatomi casinos some time in 2022.
“We appreciate Governor Evers and his administration working with us in a government-to-government manner to provide our tribe the tools needed to compete in the marketplace and giving us the business certainty to continue our investments in Milwaukee and throughout the state,” Forest County Potawatomi chair Ned Daniels Jr. said in a statement issued by Evers’ office.
The U.S. Department of the Interior still must approve of the deal, pending a 45-day review.
“The compact amendment is the result of extensive and productive negotiations with the Forest County Potawatomi Community,” Department of Administration Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld said. “We are grateful for our continued partnership, and this successful negotiation will be a win-win for the state and the Tribe.”
The new deal comes at a time when the Potawatomi casino could use a revenue boost.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the casino had revenue of $293 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. Mostly because of restrictions related to COVID-19, that figure was well down from the $400 million earned in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
There are no real money online casino options in Wisconsin, nor is online sports betting available. Wagering on sports is only allowed at tribal casinos.
Efforts to bring online sports betting to Wisconsin have gained little traction, though neighboring states Michigan, Iowa and Illinois have launched thriving markets. Michigan also offers online casino games accessible from anywhere in the state.