Wisconsin Betting Laws + Regulations

Every state has its own specific laws that regulate gambling. This includes the types of gambling that are and are not permitted, for example sports betting, poker, casino gaming, and pari-mutuel betting. All of these different types of betting will covered in detail on this page. It is imperative that you learn about the various Wisconsing gambling laws that dictate what types of gambling Wisconsin residents can take part in. We are here to help guide you through the jargon and legalese that is Wisconsin state gambling law.

Readers can expect to find out all they need know about the legality of gambling in the Badger State. We will go over the laws that regulate sports betting, casino gambling, poker, and pari-mutuel betting. We have included a section on the age requirements, as well as where residents can go to gamble legally. We will then tell you about the legality of online gambling, and where you can go if you want to join a safe, legal online betting site. This page will serve as a crash course on gambling laws in Wisconsin.

Gaming In Wisconsin: Is It Legal To Gamble?...Is It Safe?

When it comes to the types of gambling that are deemed legal, Wisconsin is pretty average as far as restrictiveness goes. Various types of gambling are permitted, while others are forbidden. However, even the betting activities that are off limits, such as sports betting, can be found if you look in the right places. This section will give you the rundown on all the most important statutes on the Wisconsin law books regarding gambling. It will examine the wording of the law and how it applies to you, the player.

Section 95.02 of the Wisconsin State code says that anyone who “makes a bet” or “enters or remains in a gambling place with intent to make a bet, to participate in a lottery, or to play a gambling machine” is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. This law is intended to prevent gambling establishments from operating in the state of Wisconsin. However, there are quite a few casinos on Indian Territory to which state law does not apply. These casinos on Native American land are overseen by the Office of Indian Gaming and Regulatory Compliance of the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

The next section of the Wisconsin Statutes that we will examine is section 945.041, which deals with “revocation of license and injunction against gambling devices.” What this means is that any business or establishment that knowingly allows gambling devices such as slot machines or any other device used for gambling shall have its license revoked. This statute is one of the reasons you will not find any gambling machines in bars, clubs, etc. unlike, say, Nevada, which has slot machines everywhere you look.

Wisconsin State Statute 945.07 regulates “gambling by participants in a contest,” and states that anyone who enters a contest of speed, strength, or skill for a price of admission and makes a bet, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. In layman’s terms, this statute regulates sports pools. So if you plan on going down to your neighborhood bar in Green Bay and want to enter a sports pool on the Packers versus the Seahawks, you might want to think twice, because you could get into some real trouble.

Is Online Gambling Legal In Wisconsin?

Online gambling is legal in Wisconsin if you use a legitimate betting site. However, unless you live in Delaware or Nevada, you will not find any online betting sites hosted within the United States. This is due to a combination of state and federal law working in cahoots to put a damper on online gambling in America. While Wisconsin does not have any specific state law regarding online gambling, we have already established that the only legal casinos are on Indian Territory. State law does not have to include anything about online gambling, because federal law already takes care of that. Laws such as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), and the Wire Act, in conjunction, limit online gambling to just a few states.

Thankfully, legal options do exist for those who want to join an online betting site. Legitimate and legal sites operate overseas, in places like Costa Rica, Panama, Canada, etc. Since these territories are outside of the US, they are not subject to the same laws that regulate gambling here in the states. Many of these offshore betting sites accept players from Wisconsin. The only way that federal online gambling laws affect Wisconsin residents is that players must look outside of the US for a legal online betting site.

Betting Laws In Wisconsin - How Gambling Is Affected

Wisconsin Sports Betting Laws

Wisconsing gambling laws are not as direct as it is in some states, but there are a few mentions of sports betting, for example in Section 945.03, which deals with commercial gambling. Subsection G of this statute prohibits any person from using a wire communications facility to transmit information aiding to the placement of a bet “on any sporting event or contest.” While this is a state law, this language is actually lifted from a federal law called the Wire Act, which dates back to 1961. Because of the combination of state and federal law, which also includes the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), you will not find any sportsbooks in the state of Wisconsin. However, there are a few legal options that exist, which we will examine later.

WI Sports Gambling Laws
Is Sports Betting Legal?
Wisconsin Sportsbooks
Wisconsin Casino Gaming Laws

The law of the State of Wisconsin prohibits state-sponsored casinos except if they are on tribal land. These legal casinos must meet certain standards. For example, the location of a casino must be on lands that were “acquired after October 17, 1998, by the U.S. secretary of the interior in trust for the benefit of an Indian tribe.” So, to break it down in simple terms: the only casinos that are allowed in the state of Wisconsin are on Native American land. The state makes exception for these casinos, and they are regulated by the aforementioned Office of Indian Gaming and Regulatory Compliance. Back in 1998, the State of Wisconsin entered into negotiations with Indian tribes, and the Federal Indian Gaming Regulation Act was passed. These Indian casinos are out of reach of state law, as they are overseen by the Federal Government.

WI Casino Gambling Laws
Are Casino Games Legal?
Wisconsin Casinos
Wisconsin Poker Laws

The only places that you can legally play poker on land-based sites are at casinos on Indian land. Under the Federal Indian Gaming Regulation Act of 1998, anyone can go to one of the twenty or so Indian casinos and play poker.

Oddly enough, home poker games are technically illegal, unlike some states. This does not mean that the cops will be likely to bust down your door during your Saturday night game, but it is something you should be aware of if you want to be in full compliance with the law. While the State Code does not say much specifically about poker, the game falls under the umbrella of “gambling” as defined by Section 954.02, which explicitly states that “whoever makes a bet” is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. Again, the likelihood that you will get in trouble for playing poker at home is nil, but the law is the law.

WI Poker Laws
Is It Legal To Play Poker?
Wisconsin Poker Rooms
Wisconsin Pari-Mutuel Wagering

Pari-mutuel betting is one of the few types of gambling that is legal across the board in the state of Wisconsin. This includes licensed dog and horse racing. Oddly enough, although pari-mutuel wagering is legal, you will not find any pari-mutuel racetracks in the Badger State. The last remaining track, Dairyland Greyhound Park, closed down on December 31, 2009. The track, which opened in 1990, had been suffering from lack of revenue. It’s not just Wisconsin that is suffering, unfortunately. The sport has been on a steady decline for years; what was once a grand sport now suffers from a lack of interest. Other types of betting require less effort and promise bigger payoffs, so pari-mutuel betting has given way to gaming activities like slots, lotteries, and bookmaking.

WI Pari-Mutuel Wagering Laws
Is Pari-Mutuel Wagering Legal?
WI Pari-Mutuel Wagering

Legal Gambling Age In Wisconsin: What's The Age To Bet?

While some states have an across-the-board age limit for all types of gambling, Wisconsin makes legal distinctions between casino gaming and lottery, pari-mutuel, and charity bingo. As it stands, Wisconsing gambling laws set the legal age for casino gambling is 21, while the legal age for the other three types is 18. It is imperative that you follow these laws, because the last thing you want is to go to jail or be fined for underage gambling. Not that a casino would let you in in the first place if you are not old enough, but you get the idea. It is never a good idea to play fast and loose with the law.

The penalties for underage gambling in Wisconsin can be severe. For starters, you could be fined or have your driver’s license taken away. It could be worse, though. You could end up in jail, and you definitely do not want that on your record. The best advice we can give you is to follow the law like a good citizen. If you are still not one hundred percent sure about how old you have to be to gamble, contact your state legislator or do some research. This will save you the embarrassment of having a misdemeanor on your record.

18 18 18 or 21 18 18 18

Safe Ways To Gamble In Wisconsin

On-Land: Wisconsin residents can find all kinds of places to gamble legally. There are nearly two dozen casinos located on Indian lands, in places as diverse as major cities like Milwaukee and Madison, to small towns and villages like Baraboo and Lac de Flambeau. No matter where you live, there is a casino right around the corner. If you live in Wisconsin Rapids in Wood County, you can drive ten minutes to Nekoosa and play at the Ho-Chunk Gaming Casino. Indian casinos include everything you would expect, from poker games to popular favorites like roulette, blackjack, and keno.

Other types of gambling are more limited. Sports betting, for example, must be done at a legal online betting site that accepts Wisconsin residents. As we mentioned before, pari-mutuel betting is legal, but there are no tracks to be found anywhere in the state. That leaves state lotteries and bingo games, of which there are plenty of options. You can play Powerball, Badger 5, Megabucks, and Mega Millions, just to name a few. To find out if you can play Bingo in your town, contact the Office of Charitable Gaming.

Online/Web-Based: Safe, legitimate gambling sites are available to all Wisconsin residents as long as they are old enough to bet. Although the minimum age to join most of these sites is 18, Wisconsin law stipulates that you must be 21 to play in a casino, so keep that in mind. After all, the most important thing is to stay within the boundaries of the law. As long as you are 21 or older, you will have no trouble, because the sites that we recommend are 100 percent licensed and legit. Again, these are overseas sites that are not affected by US law. Moreover, it is important to realize that there is no state or federal law that says Wisconsin residents cannot join an online gambling site.

Now that you understand some of the legal issues surrounding online betting, it is time to select a quality online gambling site. One of the things we do is try out various sites and test them out to see how good they are. We have spent a long time searching for the perfect online gambling site, and we’re pretty sure that we have found it. This legal betting site offers all of the things you want in an online casino, and then some.

Best Gambling Sites That Accept Wisconsin

Top-Rated For All Types of Gambling: Casino, Poker + Sports!

The online gambling site to end all online gambling sites is Bovada, and Wisconsin residents 21 years and older are free and welcome to join! Bovada features the very best in interactive online gaming, including a legal, full-fledged sports book, plus poker rooms, casino games, and horse racing. They offer all sorts of bonuses, too! In fact, if you join today, you will receive a bonus right away! When you add up all the great features and services like mobile betting and live play, you begin to get a better understanding of why Bovada reigns supreme.

Bovada’s sportsbook offers great deals and bonuses on every sport you can imagine. The most popular sports like football, baseball and basketball are proudly represented, as are international favorites like handball and Aussie Rules, plus E-sports, motor sports, and everything in between. You can even bet on the next presidential election if you want to!

If you like to play casino games, Bovada has you covered. You can play all the most popular games like roulette, blackjack, keno, slots, baccarat, craps, and even games like Vegas three-card rummy. You can even get bonuses the more you play. For example, Bovada hosts Table Mania Tuesdays every week, which gives you $10 in cash for every $250 you wager. Or how about Blackjack Weekends, which gives you the opportunity to win $100 every single weekend? Good luck trying to find such great deals anywhere else.

Poker fiends love Bovada because they offer so many different varieties of the game. Bovada features the hottest tournaments around, such as the guaranteed $2 million prize pool every week. You can rack up Poker Points, which you can redeem for free plays and casino and sports bonuses. Heck, they’ll give you a 100 percent Poker Welcome Bonus just for signing up. How can you pass up such a great opportunity?

If horse racing is what you’re into, boy, do we have some great news for you! You will receive a 50% Welcome Bonus up to $250 as soon as you make your first deposit. You will also be able to take advantage of Weekly Horse Racing Rebates and new and improved features. All of the best racing action is at your fingertips when you join Bovada.

If you need any more reason to join Bovada, consider that Bovada has been around for twenty years and its membership is in the millions. People from all over the United States adore Bovada because of its ease of use, great customer service, amazing selection of odds and wager types, and top-drawer safety and security features. So don’t wait any longer, Wisconsin residents! Join Bovada today and start making your dreams come true. Remember, you must be 21 years or older to sign up in Wisconsin.

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Need More Info?...Our Final Advice

All of the information provided on this page is as accurate as possible. We have spent a great deal of time researching the laws that pertain to gambling in the state of Wisconsin. However, should you have any lingering doubts as to the accuracy of our information, we encourage you to do some research on any topic of which you are not one hundred percent certain. That being said, we can attest to the fact that much of the information on this page has been quoted and/or paraphrased directly from the Wisconsin State Code. Our aim has been to provide you with the most current data available regarding Wisconsing gambling laws. Thank you for reading and good luck.