Highest Rated Website

Wisconsin Online Gambling Laws

This section of our guide is dedicated to providing clear and concise information as it relates to the gambling laws in the state of Wisconsin. The topic of legality can be a confusing one and a difficult one to keep up with due to the ever changing online gambling political climate here in the US. While some states are absolutely in favor of it and have already implemented legal state sponsored online gambling, other states are diametrically opposed to the concept and have made it illegal to operate an online gambling site within its borders. The real question comes with the topic of engaging in online gambling as a player, and that is the area we are addressing with this guide. We will address both land based and Wisconsin online gambling, and will cover related topics such as online poker, sports betting, bingo gambling and the area most inquired about, Wisconsin online casinos.

Wisconsin Gambling Laws concerning Online Gambling

Wisconsin gambling law does not specifically prohibit or regulate online poker or online casino gambling. There are no bills pending in the state legislature that seeks to regulate Wisconsin online poker or online gambling. Playing online poker does not violate any federal law. It was believed that online poker violated the Federal Wire Act but the Department of Justice has specifically stated that the Act applies only to sports betting. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 seeks to regulate how online gambling transactions can be processed. The Act does not make it illegal to play online poker or online casino games. It does not apply to those who participate in a game of online poker as mere players. There are not been any laws passed which legalized state sponsored or regulated online gambling within the state. It is currently not legal to operate an online gambling site within the state of Wisconsin. There are not any legal state sponsored options for sports betting in Wisconsin, however there are multiple legally licensed and regulated sportsbooks which are located outside of the US and that accept players from Wisconsin. These sites are often referred to as Wisconsin sports betting sites because they do accept players residing in or visiting the state to participate as real money players.

Wisconsin's Legal Definitions of Gambling

Wisconsin gambling law does not contain a direct definition of gambling. The definition of gambling is derived from the definition of bet. Wisconsin gambling law defines a bet as a bargain in which the parties agree that one of them will either win or lose something of value, dependent on chance. Even if skill plays some role, it will still be considered a bet. In most states, a game qualifies as gambling if some element of chance is present. However under Wisconsin gambling law, a game will qualify as gambling only if chance is the dominant element.

Penalties for Illegal Gambling as State by Wisconsin Gambling Laws

Engaging in illegal gambling is a misdemeanor crime in Wisconsin. Making a bet, entering a gambling place with the intention to bet illegally or conducting a lottery are all considered as gambling under Wisconsin gambling law. The stakes are much higher for those involved in offering illegal gambling than for those participating as mere players. Commercial gambling is a felony offense. Commercial gambling includes all aspects of conducting an illegal gambling event and profiting from an illegal gambling event.

The original Wisconsin state constitution specifically stated that the state shall not authorize any lottery. This was interpreted as including all forms of gambling. Even so, gambling continued to remain popular. In 1965 the state began to crack down on illegal gambling. Today there are certain forms of legalized gambling in Wisconsin. Many states allow home poker games subject to restrictions but not Wisconsin. Home poker games are not legal in the state. There is no exception for home or social poker games under Wisconsin gambling law.

Charitable Gambling Laws In Wisconsin

In 1973 the state constitution was amended to allow charitable bingo. Charitable organizations were allowed to conduct charitable gambling events for fundraising purposes. Bingo and raffle can be offered as part of a charitable gambling event. Until June 2013, crane games were also allowed as part of charitable gambling events. Charitable organizations include religious, fraternal, service or veterans organizations, senior community centers, community based residential facilities and adult family homes that have been in existence for at least three years and have been incorporated as a non-profit for at least one year. All proceeds from such an event must be used for charitable purposes. Poker cannot be offered as part of a charitable gambling event. For bingo players who would like to venture out of the 'charitable gambling' arena, there are a number of secure, legally licensed and regulated Wisconsin online bingo halls which are located outside of the United States, and that welcome players from Wisconsin and the United States in general.

Wisconsin Horse, Greyhound and Snowmobile Race Betting Laws

In 1987 Wisconsin legalized pari-mutuel wagering on horse, Greyhound and snowmobile racing. In 1995 the state permitted full-card simulcasting at the racetracks. However today there is no pari-mutuel wagering in the state as the last racing track closed down in 2009.

Wisconsin State Lottery

The state voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in 1987 paving the way for the establishment of the Wisconsin state lottery. The first lottery ticket was sold in September 1988. The state lottery is a member of the multi state lottery association.

Wisconsin Land Based Gambling

Although home poker games are illegal, it is possible to play legal poker in Wisconsin. There are many casinos across the state that offer poker. When Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, it allowed the states to enter into gaming compacts with Indian tribes. An Indian tribe with a gaming compact with the state could open a casino in the state. In 1992 the state signed a class III gaming compact with all 11 Wisconsin tribes. In 1993 the voters approved a constitutional amendment that prohibited all forms of non-tribal gambling except lottery, raffles, bingo and on-track pari-mutuel betting. The compacts were renewed in 1998. Today there are over 20 Indian casinos in Wisconsin. These casinos offer a range of games including slot machines, blackjack, bingo and poker.

Wisconsin Gambling Laws

This content was intended as informational only and was never intended to serve as or replace professional legal services, advice, or interpretation of the laws and statutes of Wisconsin. If you are seeking professional legal services or advice, we recommend that you contact an attorney. We are not lawyers and are not trained to provide any type of legal services.

If you would like to review the laws and statutes of Wisconsin in their original context, you can access the Wisconsin State Legislature official website.