Wisconsin Online Poker Law
Wisconsin is playing the big silent girl in the corner as other states begin to roll out online poker platforms to their residents. This is a state with a considerable Indian casino industry that will surely affect the way online poker moves forward in Wisconsin.
The state has 25 Indian casinos filled with electronic tables, nine of which also have table games, that generated more than $1.1 billion in revenue in 2012. The casinos are owned by 11 tribes. Wisconsin casinos have seen a decline in profits for several consecutive years.
Yet as of the end of 2013, there are no online poker bills or any talk of moving forward with online poker legalization in Wisconsin. The governor is Scott Walker, who is about as conservative as they come, but also didn’t outright reject allowing a tribe to build a casino off of its land.
Any movement toward online poker legalization will surely face loud and aggressive opposition from the Wisconsin Family Action, an extremely conservative organization that absolutely hates the thought of allowing its fellow neighbors to do what they want with their money.
With such a strong Indian casino presence, it’s doubtful Wisconsin would contract with a state like Delaware, where online gambling is legal. This is unfortunate for Wisconsin online poker players. Unless the 11 Indian tribes are somehow cut in, it’s hard to imagine Wisconsin poker players will be able to play poker against people in other states as far as the eye can see.
Although there’s no sign that it will happen, lawmakers may consider following Oklahoma, which allowed one of its tribes to get into the online poker business with one major caveat: It’s only opened to people outside of the United States.
This is most likely the first step in Oklahoma toward allowing its residents access to online poker.
The best chance for online poker players in Wisconsin is for the casinos to decide they want to get into the online poker game and go for it. A standalone online poker bill has the best chance of getting approved, but the tribes in Wisconsin seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach.
When Can I Play Online Poker in Wisconsin?
The answer to this question will be clarified considerably in 2014. There is no real grassroots online-poker effort in Wisconsin, so all the pressure must come from the Indian casinos who, as of late 2013, have yet to show their hands. Lawmakers in certain districts in Wisconsin represent some of the most conservative people in the country, so be certain any attempts at online poker legalization will face stiff resistance.