Potawatomi Tribe and Gov. Evers Ink Legal Sports Betting Deal

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Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Hotel & Casino has entered into a sports betting agreement with the state of Wisconsin, through Gov. Tony Evers, on Friday.

The compact will allow the tribe to offer legal sports and non-sports betting at the Potawatomi Casino. The deal also allows the tribe to offer sports betting at the tribe’s Forest County Casino.

Said Forest County Potawatomi Chair Ned Daniels Jr.:

“We appreciate Governor Evers and his administration working with us in a government-to-government manner to provide our tribe the tools needed to compete in the marketplace and giving us the business certainty to continue our investments in Milwaukee and throughout the state.”

The signed agreement will be sent to the U.S Department of Interior. The document will undergo a 45-day review by the department before taking effect. The Potawatomi tribe plans to open the sportsbook at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino at 1721 W. Canal St. by the end of this year.

Potawatomi’s Revenue Decline

The introduction of sports betting at the Potawatomi Casino comes at a time when the tribe suffered a steep decline in revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the tribe to layoff employees, cut dividends to tribal members, and end a variety of services.

The casino reported a total of $293 million in casino winnings for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2021 and $292 million in 2020. Those figures are 28% below the 2019 or pre-pandemic numbers produced by the casino. During the period ending June 30, 2019, the Potawatomi won more than $400 million via bets taken at its Milwaukee slots, off-track betting windows, and a variety of table games including poker, craps, and blackjack.

Not the First to Offer Legal Sports Betting

The Potawatomi tribe won’t be the fist to offer legal sports betting in Wisconsin though. The Oneida Casino in Green Bay also offers sports betting as does the St. Croix Chippewa Indians at their northwestern Wisconsin casino. Tribal officials from the other Indigenous nations in Wisconsin that operate casinos have not made any public comments on legal sports betting.

At the Oneida Casino, bettors can place wagers on the state’s three professional sports teams: the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Milwaukee Brewers. The casino is also allowed to offer bets on other events like the Oscar Awards but for the meantime, the focus is on sports, both professional and collegiate. Bets on Wisconsin’s college teams however, are not permitted.