ONEIDA RESERVATION, Wis. — The Oneida Nation celebrated what it considers a big step towards legalized sports betting Thursday at its main casino.
Gov. Tony Evers and the Oneida Nation signed an agreement to allow betting on sporting events for the first time in Wisconsin, joining a growing number of states that have embraced sports wagering as a means of generating revenue. Tribal chairman Tehassi Hill and Evers signed an amendment to Gaming Compact of 1991, an agreement between the two entities that allowed for certain gaming activities on Oneida Reservation.
The documents now heads to the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs for final approve. They have 45 days to green light or reject the plan.
“The Oneida Nation aims to commence sports betting in its main casino in early fall, 2021, and will include retail kiosks and mobile wagering at select locations,” said Hill during a news conference Thursday at the main casino, just outside of Green Bay.
They said they have amended the tribe’s gambling compact with the state to allow wagering on professional sporting events including NFL, NBA and MLB games, professional sports drafts and nationally televised award shows.
The deal does not permit betting on college sports, elections or events with participants under age 19. Wagering would be allowed at the Oneida’s casino. Remote event wagering would be allowed on tribal properties. For example, someone standing in a tribal parking lot or in a tribal facility would be able to place bets using his or her cellphone, state Department of Administration spokeswoman Tatyana Warrick said.
Oneida Casino would be the only tribal Wisconsin casino allowed to offer sports betting and event wagering if the amendment is approved.
“This amendment couldn’t come at a better time as barring any objection in the next 45 days, it will provide new opportunities for the Oneida Nation to find new revenue and employment growth while maintaining the integrity of Wisconsin sports,” Evers said.
Under the amendment, Oneida Nation would offer sports betting and event wagering at their casinos and tribe owned properties. People can collect winnings at the main casino.
Evers said in a news release that event wagering would create new employment opportunities for the tribe. Hill said in the release that it would boost tourism.
Existing state and tribal gambling compacts require the tribes to pay the state a percentage of their winnings in exchange for the exclusive right to offer gambling. DOA spokeswoman Olivia Hwang said the wagering amendment doesn’t call for the tribe to increase its payment to the state. However, if event wagering generates more revenue for the tribe the state’s overall take would increase too.
Event wagering has expanded across the country in recent years in hopes of capturing more revenue. Indiana, Iowa and Michigan legalized sports betting in 2019. Ohio legislators say legalizing sports betting will be a priority this fall. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorized mobile sports betting in that state in April.
VIXIO Gambling Compliance, a company that tracks gambling legislation and performance, issued a report in January predicting revenue for legal sports betting could reach $3.1 billion in 2021 and grow to as much as $10 billion within five years.