Oneida Tribe to Launch Legal Sports Betting in Wisconsin

General view at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. John Fisher/Getty Images/AFP

While it hasn’t exactly made headlines, it appears that legal sports betting is coming to Wisconsin. They have been working on this for a while and were actually hoping to launch for the beginning of the NFL season. Even though that fell through, they are now a strong possibility that they could launch next month.

Oneida Tribe Made Deal with State

Gov. Tony Evers and Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill signed a compact amendment today that will expand the allowable gaming at Oneida Nation casinos. The expansion in question means that the tribe will be able to take legal sports bets in the state of Wisconsin. In-state college sports, as well as bets on elections, are prohibited. This is a huge win for the Oneida Nation for so many different reasons.

First of all, Wisconsin has not really been on the radar as one of the states that were close to launching legal sports betting market. The Oneida Nation did announce back in July that it would be launching legal sports betting in the fall and even that announcement was seen as coming out of the left field. They are the first tribe to seemingly fly completely under the radar while trying to add legal sports betting as part of their gaming compact.

Players in Wisconsin and across the country that don’t yet have access to legalized sports betting via mobile can go to OddsTrader once this changes. OddsTrader currently offers betting odds comparison in Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa, and West Virginia.

Other Tribes Not Nearly as Fortunate

To be clear, the state of Wisconsin has entered into gaming compact agreements with all 11 federally recognized Tribes of Indians in the state. These compacts are negotiated between a tribe and the state to set forth the rules, regulations, and conditions under which a tribe can conduct what is known as “Class 3” gaming. These rules were defined in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

What makes this story so unbelievable to most of the Native community is because there are currently two tribes in Arizona and Connecticut that are having very public negotiations about their ability to do the same as the Oneida Nation. Things have not gone nearly as smoothly in those states. In fact, the tribes in those states had to give up much of the exclusivity they would have enjoyed before negotiations started.

Tribe Will Not Use Official League Data

Another huge sticking point in other states that have either launched their legal sports betting market or attempted to do so is official league data. As far as most stakeholders are concerned, it is an expense that cuts way too deep into their bottom line. With the costs of doing business plus all of the taxes that are to be paid, most stakeholders will not be too keen on paying this extra cost for something that they can elsewhere for much cheaper.

The Oneida Nation is no different in that regard as they have said no to using official league data. In fact, according to reports, the tribe cited the fact that most other states were able to launch successfully without the need for using official league data and that they will be using that same business model. It seems like the NFL, the giant in terms of the North American professional sports leagues when it comes to betting tried to make official league data. The tribe also mentioned that the state wanted that as well at the beginning of the negotiation process but the tribe was steadfast in their refusal.

Their sportsbook will use IGT’s PlaySports package and will only be available on tribal land. The Oneida Nation are the owners of five casinos and will open with at least one sportsbook while the other casinos will be serviced by kiosks. All things considered, this is fantastic news for fans of legal sports betting in Wisconsin.

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