Wisconsin Casinos and Gambling
Wisconsin is famous for cheese and the Green Bay Packers, but anything involving gambling would be far down the list of identifiable features. However, that’s not to say that the state is devoid of gaming opportunities. While commercial casinos and racetrack gambling are illegal, the state still has several tribal casinos, a lottery, and pari-mutuel betting facilities.
Whether you’re a lifelong cheesehead or just a curious tourist who’s passing through, the Badger State has several gambling options to meet your needs. This article covers some of the basics, although I always suggest consulting a lawyer if you want to be 100% safe.
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Slot Machine Ownership in Wisconsin
According to Wisconsin Statute 945.035, any private resident can own a slot machine as long as it’s considered an antique gaming device. In order to meet this qualification, it must be at least 25 years old.
Residents may keep and play these machines in their residence, as long as they don’t do so for profit. Friends and neighbors can also come over and give the devices a try, but it’s considered a crime as soon as the owner starts making money.
Lottery in Wisconsin
In the early to mid-1980s, the Oneida Nation sold the first lottery tickets within the state of Wisconsin. This changed in 1988, however, when the state legislature authorized the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to organize and conduct a state lottery.
Since that time, over $3 billion dollars have been generated by the sale of lottery tickets and scratch-off cards, with the proceeds being used to provide relief on property taxes for residents.
In addition to their local games, Wisconsin is also part of a multi-state lottery network. In order to participate in either type of game, a player must be at least 18 years of age.
The following games are currently offered:
• SuperCash – The player chooses 6 different numbers ranging from 1 to 39. By getting 6 matches, the player is eligible to share in a $350,000 daily jackpot. If more than 20 players match the same numbers, then they share $7 million equally. The odds of getting 6 out of 6 are 1 in 1,631,312.
• PowerBall – Players choose 5 numbers from 1 to 59, as well as a Powerball number from 1 to 35. If all numbers are matched during the drawing, the customer wins the current jackpot. Without the Powerball number, getting 5 out of 5 pays a guaranteed $1 million ($2 million if the Power Play option is purchased for an additional $1).
• Mega Millions – Players choose 5 numbers from 1 to 75, as well as a Mega Ball number from 1 to 15. If all numbers are matched during the drawing, the customer wins the current jackpot. Without the Mega Ball number, getting 5 out of 5 pays a guaranteed $1 million (or up to $5 million if the Megaplier option is purchased for an additional $1).
• Badger 5 – Select 5 numbers ranging from 1 to 31. Match all 5 and win a jackpot starting at $10,000. Matching 4 out of 5 pays $50.
• Wisconsin’s Mega Bucks – Choose 6 numbers from 1 through 49. Get all 6 matches and win a pool jackpot that’s paid out in 25 annual installments and awarded in a reduced lump sum.
• Daily Pick 4 – Pick 4 numbers from 0 to 9. If you match the 4 numbers in any order, you can win up to $1,200. If they’re matched in exact order, then you win the top prize of $5,000.
• Daily Pick 3 – Pick 3 numbers from 0 to 9. Match them in exact order and win $500. Match them in any order and win up to $330.
• 5 Card Cash – The player buys a ticket with 5 card symbols on it. If the symbols on your card equal a royal flush, you immediately win $5,000. A drawing is also held in which 5 card symbols are selected from 52 possible options. If all 5 of your card’s symbols are drawn, then you win $250,000.
Online Gambling in Wisconsin
States such as New Jersey and Nevada have licensed online gambling, but Wisconsin has yet to take this step. While some online casinos are not available due to the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, others are happy to accept players from America’s Dairyland.
There are signs that licensed online gambling might be coming to the state in the future. At least one Indian tribe has conducted research into this area, so it may be a matter of time before Internet gaming is officially legal in Wisconsin.
Tribal Casinos in Wisconsin
Commercials casinos aren’t allowed in the state, but various Indian tribes have filled the void with an array of legal gaming establishments. Smaller locations may only offer slots, while others feature blackjack, roulette, craps, and other assorted favorites. As of this writing, the following brick-and-mortar facilities are operating within the state:
• Whitetail Crossing Casino
• St. Croix Casino & Hotel
• Rainbow Casino
• Potawatomi Bingo Casino Resort
• Potawatomi Bingo & Northern Lights Casino
• Oneida Mason Street Casino
• Oneida Bingo and Casino
• Mole Lake Regency Casino
• Mohican North Star Casino & Bingo
• Moccasin Trail Center Casino
• Menominee Casino-Bingo Hotel
• Majestic Pines Bingo & Casino
• Little Turtle Hertel Express
• Legendary Waters Resort & Casino
• Lake of the Torches Resort & Casino
• Lac Courte Oreilles Casino
• Hole-in-the-Wall Casino and Hotel
• Ho-Chunk Casino, Hotel & Convention Center
• Highway 554 Casino
• Grindstone Creek Casino
• E & EE Casino
• Dejope Bingo
• Bad River Lodge, Casino & Convention Center
• 29 & U Casino
Pari Mutuel Betting
While you can’t go to an actual track and wager on dogs or horses, you can do so at legal pari-mutuel facilities in the state. Most of these are located inside tribal casinos, although their numbers are scarce.
Fans of greyhound and horseracing may be disappointed by the absence of tracks, and the same goes for those who prefer commercial casinos. For anyone else, however, Wisconsin has a decent selection of gambling facilities to choose from. When you factor in online gambling and charitable games such as bingo, the state has more than enough options to help both locals and tourists get their fix.