Wisconsin on Track for November Sports Betting Launch

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Kylin Hill #32 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with his teammates. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP

The state of Wisconsin is ready to welcome its first legal sports betting platform. Unfortunately, some of the equipment necessary for that platform to go live is not. It means that while the regulatory hurdles have been cleared in the state for legal sports betting to commence, the infrastructure components aren’t quite yet and that delivery won’t come until November, too late to capitalize on the start of the NFL season.

It was last week that the Federal Department of the Interior signed off on the renegotiated compact between Oneida Nation, which happens to be official casino partner of the Green Bay Packers, and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Such approval gives the tribe the go-ahead to immediately open a sportsbook on their lands. But a far-too-familiar COVID-era backorder for operating systems and equipment necessary for such a platform has pushed the launch back.

What the Wisconsin Scene Will Look Like

The newly negotiated compact between the Oneida Nation and the Wisconsin government paves the way for retail sportsbooks to open up at Oneida casinos in the state. It is expected that their location in Green Bay will be the first to take bets. The other Oneida casinos are expected to follow quickly in Green Bay’s footsteps and have sportsbooks in place certainly by the end of the year.

As it stands, the Oneida casinos will be of the retail variety only. It is unclear if a mobile platform will be coming to the Badger State. It is a bit of a curious development, as mobile platforms have been far outpacing the handles and revenues of retail facilities nationwide. The Oneida are, however, planning an app that can be used within the confines of their retail facilities. With millions in revenues on the line, there is still some hope that a mobile platform will be coming to Wisconsin in the near future.

Betting on the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and other pro leagues will be available to Wisconsin citizens. Bets on in-state college teams like the beloved Wisconsin Badgers won’t be allowed unfortunately but betting on out-of-state colleges will be permitted. The Oneida Nation has yet to choose a third-party service provider for their sportsbook. That process is ongoing and is another reason for the delay in the immediate launch of the Wisconsin platform.

The Market

Wisconsin, while not being the biggest jurisdiction to open in the US legal sports betting industry is a an intriguing one, mostly because of the rabid fanbase that call the state home. Sports lovers know just how much Wisconsin residents love their Green Bay Packers. Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Brewers.

Wisconsin is 20th in terms of population in the US with just over 5.8 million residents. As it stands, those citizens 21 years and older will have to travel to a casino to place their bet, on Oneida Nation lands. Once a mobile platform is launched, it is expected that the market will significantly and dramatically spike.

The Ball Is Rolling

While not exactly a comprehensive sports betting platform that many in Wisconsin had been hoping for, the Oneida Nation breakthrough gets the ball rolling for Wisconsin bettors hoping to place a wager on their beloved Packers and Bucks in 2021. Look for other Wisconsin tribes, beyond the Oneida Nation to pursue their own renegotiated compact and for them to eventually launch their own platforms.

Look also for regulators to work on bringing in a far more lucrative and popular mobile scene into Wisconsin. For now, some betting in the Badger State is better than no betting. Hopes are that there is some evolution of the platform soon, that the hopeful November launch date comes to fruition and that mobile betting will be coming to the state in the not-too-distant future.