The launch of legal sports betting in the state is moving forward with federal approval of an amended tribal gaming compact. The new compact was the result of negotiations between Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and the Oneida Nation. Recent approval from the US Department of Justice has sealed the deal.
The initial hope was to launch legal sports betting in time for the start of football season. Given a few more obstacles that still need to be cleared, the new target is early November.
As part of the new compact, the Oneida Nation will be able to operate retail sportsbooks in all of their land-based casinos. There is no provision in the compact or existing state law for online betting through mobile sportsbook apps.
The initial plan is to open a retail book at the Oneida casino located in Green Bay near the airport. Known as Main-Airport Casino, this venue is in close proximity to Lambeau Field as the Packers’ home stadium. The Oneida Nation owns and operates three additional gaming facilities in the general Green Bay area.
The Oneida Nation has the legal right to offer sports betting immediately due to federal approval of the compact. Logistics is responsible for the delay until November.
The tribe has yet to name its sports betting platform provider. There are also issues with obtaining the necessary technology and equipment to open a retail sportsbook. Delays in the supply chain of key components are another factor impacting the actual launch.
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Assuming that all these issues can be resolved in a timely fashion, Wisconsin and the Oneida Nation could still cash in on part of the football season. The NFL does not get interesting until November and college football’s bowl season runs until early January.
The Oneida Nation has taken the lead on bringing legal sports betting to Wisconsin sports fans. Any effort to expand into mobile betting would have to go through the current tribal gaming system. To date, there is no movement to expand online.
There is talk of creating a mobile betting app that could be used to place bets at retail sportsbooks. Legal betting at the sportsbook in Main-Airport Casino will include the use of betting kiosks along with the main betting counter.
Initial plans call for a temporary sports betting area in conjunction with the sports bar at Main-Airport. A full-service sports betting lounge would then be added.
Along with the Main-Airport location, Oneida Nation also has gaming venues at W. Mason, Irene Moore Activity Center (IMAC), and One-Stop Packerland. There was no timeline mentioned for the launch of retail sportsbooks at these three casinos.
The tribe’s primary goal is to get Main-Airport up and running as soon as possible. Given the nature of the new tribal gaming compact, other Wisconsin tribes could be eligible to offer legal sports betting down the road.
All told, there are 11 federally recognized Native American tribes in the state of Wisconsin. Each tribe is tied to a gaming compact with the state.