Guide to Gambling in Wisconsin


The Wisconsin casino industry is large and healthy, despite not having that same grand reputation. Tribes in America’s Dairyland State took full advantage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory in the 1990’s and entered into agreements with the state to establish 22 Wisconsin casinos within the state borders. No commercial casinos exist in the Dairyland State.

Horse and Dog Racing is available for off-track betting, charitable gaming, an excellent state lottery, land-based poker and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operate freely. In late 2021, Wisconsin’s first retail sportsbook opened at the Oneida Casino near Green Bay with more tribal based sportsbooks likely to follow.

Wisconsin Casino Gambling

Twenty-two Tribal Casinos make up the bulk of Wisconsin’s legal land-based gambling options and they must be located on Tribal reservations in order to be legal under Wisconsin State Law. Each tribe may enter into a gaming pact with the state and pay for licensing. Local jurisdictions must then approve the form of gambling that takes place on the land. Most local authorities approve full-scale gambling that includes slots, video poker, table games, including live poker (eight of the casinos have a live poker room), and with limited availability, sports betting. A handful of counties only permit slots and other electronic games.

The last attempt to pass laws on the legalization of commercial casino gambling was vetoed by then Wisconsin Governor, Jim Doyle in 2007.

Online Casinos in Wisconsin

Despite a superb land-based casino industry, Wisconsin is still very much an online casino ‘no go zone’. As is the norm in many States of the Union, Wisconsin’s State Statutes on Gambling (specifically Chapter 945) pre-date the internet, however, they are considered broad enough to cover definitions of illegal gaming as to include online gambling.

Poker in Wisconsin

Technically speaking, home social poker games are deemed illegal under Wisconsin’s gaming laws although reinforcement of these laws rarely take place.

See below for options to play fully legal Live Poker in Wisconsin.

Poker Rooms

Eight of Wisconsin’s 22 Tribal Casino offer Live Poker Rooms. 63 tables are on offer in total and game options include: Texas Hold’em, 7 Card Stud, Omaha, Limit Hold’em, No Limit Hold’em, Mixed Games, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pot Limit Omaha.

Online Poker Laws

Online Poker is specifically considered to be illegal in Wisconsin under the State Statutes, Chapter 945.

See above section ‘Online Casinos in Wisconsin’ for further information on online gambling in the state.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Wisconsin

1848; Wisconsin’s original State Constitution bans all forms of gambling.

1858; State Legislation in Wisconsin makes all gambling debts uncollectible.

1965; Wisconsin voters approve participation in promotional contests.

1973-77; Various forms of charitable gambling (specifically bingo and raffles) legalized in Wisconsin.

1987; Horse Racing Betting legalized in America’s Dairyland State and the Wisconsin State Lottery is established in the same year.

1992; Tribal Casinos open for the first time in Wisconsin.

2007; Last attempt to legislate legal commercial casino gambling in Wisconsin vetoed by then Governor Jim Doyle.

2009; The last operating race track in Wisconsin closes its doors.

2015 to the Present; Several attempts to legalize DFS under respective bills SB 436 and A 526 fail. The bills are still live and maybe presented again to the Wisconsin State Legislators for consideration in the future.

2021: Retail sports betting is legalized on tribal lands, and the first sportsbook opens near Green Bay.

To read about sports betting in Wisconsin click here