Tony Evers, the Democratic Party Governor of Wisconsin, has signed an agreement with the Oneida Nation to expand sports betting and other forms of wagering in the state.
The agreement will see the Oneida Nation’s Tribal Casino strengthen its range of products, offering not only sports wagering opportunities ahead of the National Football League (NFL) season but also sports drafts and awards shows such as the Academy Awards.
As a major sporting state – the area is home to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers and the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Milwaukee Bucks – and the agreement could prove highly lucrative for both the betting industry and state tax revenues.
Both legislators and gaming operators have also been closely following developments in the neighbouring states of Iowa and Illinois. In the latter, around $50 million tax revenue has been reported since regulation in March 2020.
“Generally, in a situation like this, there’s about a 5% to 12% profit,” said Brandon Stevens, Oneida Nation Casino Vice Chairman.
“The main premise of having a sports wagering amenity to a gaming facility is to bring more foot traffic to the area, and they’re going to shop here.”
Furthermore, the nearby Native American Potawatomi community have also described the developments in the Oneida Nation as ‘welcome’ progress, and have expressed interest in expanding the scope of their own regulated tribal gaming regulations to incorporate sports betting.
However, although lauded as a ‘historic moment’ by Ewers, the deal is not yet finalised, as the federal US Bureau of Indian Affairs has five days to approve or reject the agreement.
The deal also does not cover collegiate athletics, youth sports or elections, regardless of local, state or federal level.
Additionally, the development may have the support of the Oneida Nation, the state executive and many sports bettors, but opposition remains in the form of some citizens advocacy groups.
“In order for the government to win the citizens have to lose,” said Laurie Pickens, leader of Citizens Against Expanded Gambling and a resident of Appleton, Wisconsin.
“Not very long ago our governor would have encouraged us to save money, to buy savings and bonds and put money away for our future. We are not doing that anymore, the government are pushing things like gambling because it’s an easy revenue source for them.”
Source – FOX6 News Milwaukee YouTube Channel