With the Super Bowl is just a few days away, legal sports bets on the big game are estimated to eclipse $1 billion for the first time.
In order for Wisconsin casinos to offer retail sports gambling, the native tribes that own them have to renegotiate their gambling agreements with the governor. Two tribes have already done so, but only one is currently operable. Governor Tony Evers says several others, including Potawatomi, are next in line.
The Super Bowl is typically the biggest sports gambling event of the year. This year, MarketWatch.com estimates 31 million Americans are expected to legally wager on the big game, but very few of those bets will be coming from Wisconsin due to limited legal sports betting options. Racine sports fan Daniel Lanouette thinks every casino in the state should offer the option.
“I’d definitely do that at a casino and I would be betting on the Bengals to win this year,” he said. “I think the Bengals are going to take it all.”
The American Gaming Association projects more than $6 billion will be wagered illegally on the Super Bowl. In an effort to break through the black market, the Oneida Nation was the first tribe in Wisconsin to renegotiate its agreement with Gov. Evers to offer legal sports and event gambling. Chad Fuss says Oneida Casino in Green Bay is anticipating its best day yet on Sunday.
"We're trying to get as much available room open as we can right now so our team's been down there every day this week. They're trying to configure all the kiosks, put them in a certain area,” Fuss said.
Oneida Casino currently only allows retail sports bets inside its main casino with 20 touchscreen kiosks and cashier transactions. But, Fuss says the Oneida Nation knows competition is coming across the state.
"We'd be naive to think that other tribes are not looking at this business venture, we truly think they are,” he said.
The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of northwest Wisconsin recently became the second tribe to successfully renegotiate with Gov. Evers. St. Croix’s main casino in Turtle Lake plans to be up and running in time for March Madness. College sports betting is allowed at eligible casinos so long as it doesn’t involve in-state schools.
"It's something that the tribal nations are certainly our gateway into these areas and any additional revenue we can provide for them is a step in the right direction,” Gov. Evers said.
The state’s constitution bans gambling outside of tribal land. Eleven tribes own all 26 casinos in Wisconsin. Gov. Evers says several of them are in line to offer sports gambling.
"In order to make this happen, it's a long process and as tribes express interest and make sure that they negotiate with us on that, I anticipate all tribal nations will be involved sometime in the near future,” he said.
Potawatomi Hotel and Casino says it looks forward to the day its guests can wager on their favorite team right here in Milwaukee.