Wisconsin is an interesting place for casino-goers because, on its surface, the state appears to be absent of any real gambling opportunities. In reality, however, there is a wide range of casinos and other brick and mortar locations that can facilitate all types of casino games, from table games, to slots, and everything in between. Perhaps the best example of Wisconsin’s interesting gambling environment is the fact that pari-mutuel betting is available, however there are no racetracks at which you can wager.
Though confusing, the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of casino-style gambling options for you to pursue.
Bad River Lodge & Casino
Grindstone Creek Casino
Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls
Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison
Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa
Ho-Chunk Gaming Tomah
Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells
Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg
Hole in the Wall Casino & Hotel
Irene Moore Activity Center
Legendary Waters Resort & Casino
Lac Courte Oreilles Casino, Lodge & Convention Center
Lake of the Torches
Little Turtle Hertel Express
Mason Street Casino
Menominee Casino Resort
North Star Mohican Casino Resort
Mole Lake Casino & Lodge
Oneida Bingo Casino
Potawatomi Northern Lights Bingo & Casino
St. Croix Casino
Thanks to a Federal Act that was passed towards the end of the 1980s, Native American tribes are allowed to pursue their own brick and mortar casinos so long as the state government approves it. In Wisconsin, the state has approved measures for tribal casinos. Unfortunately, this is the only type of casino that exists in the state. There are no other commercial casinos located anywhere in Wisconsin, but you can rest-assured knowing that there is a wealth of tribal gaming locations.
When Wisconsin was officially sanctioned as a state back in the mid-1800s, there were strong anti-gambling sentiments. To this day, many of the statutes that were created in the 19th century are still in effect. Over the years there have been some small changes made to allow individual forms of gambling, however widespread, legalized casinos are something that still seem like a foreign concept to most Wisconsinites.
Pari-mutuel betting became legal around the same time that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed and approved. This was a big move for Wisconsin, but one that was about 50 years behind other states. To put this in perspective, most states that currently offer pari-mutuel betting at horse and greyhound tracks instituted those measures back in the 1930s. The move to legalize pari-mutuel wagering was, in theory, a good one. In practice, however, it ended up not having much of an impact on the gambling industry in the state seeing as, by 2009, all horse and dog tracks in the state had closed. To this day, pari-mutuel wagering exists, however there is nowhere to place bets.
In 1988, the Federal government of the United States passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Within a few years, Native American tribes had agreed to compacts with the state that allowed them to begin constructing brick and mortar casinos. There are now 11 tribal casinos in the state.
Though there are no commercial casinos that are not owned by Native tribes, the state does have card rooms where poker games can be played. This is a relief to some, but leaves a lot of other casino players out in the cold. As far as what the future holds, it does not seem as though Wisconsin is in any hurry to alter the legal scope of casinos and casino-style gambling.