Legal Wisconsin Online Poker Sites
In contrast to some other US states that have legalized online gambling, Wisconsin hasn’t done much to move in this direction. In fact, commercial and online gambling have never been legal in the Badger State, leaving players with no locally-regulated options for playing poker games on the internet.
The only types of legal gambling in the state include the lottery, raffles, bingo, charitable gaming, pari-mutuel wagering, promotional contests, and sports betting. Wisconsin also has over two dozen Indian land-based casinos offering Class III gaming, including poker.
Apart from that, there aren’t any other legal poker alternatives for Wisconsinites. However, all is not lost for the fans of the game, as they can play poker online at offshore sites catering to WI players.
To help you navigate the Badger State’s legal landscape successfully and understand what your options are, we’ve created this comprehensive online poker guide. Read on to learn all about the WI gambling legislation and discover the best poker destinations, both land-based and online.
Is Online Poker Legal in Wisconsin?
Online poker is not legal in Wisconsin. The only regulated option to play casino-style games online is sweepstakes casinos. These sites mainly feature slots, with some table game and video poker options, and they allow you to participate for free with a chance to win cash prizes.
While we know of rather turbulent gambling developments in other US states, the history of this activity in Wisconsin has been quite uneventful. What’s more, it wasn’t until 1965 that the legislation moved in any direction, positive or negative.
Let’s take a look at the key legal moments regarding gambling in the Badger State:
- 1965: Wisconsin voters approve a constitutional amendment to anti-gambling law to make it possible to participate in promotional contests.
- 1973: Another constitutional amendment allows charitable bingo in the state.
- 1977: The state legalizes raffles.
- 1987: The passage of a new amendment legalizes the Wisconsin lottery and pari-mutuel wagering.
- 1988: The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) gives local tribes legal permission to operate land-based casinos.
- 1991: The state enters Class III gaming pacts with 11 Native American tribes.
- 1993: Wisconsin residents vote 59% to 41% against the expansion of any kind of gambling, except bingo, pari-mutuel wagering, lottery, and raffles.
- 2003: New compacts between the state and Indian tribes allow them to expand their operations.
- 2009: The last operating dog racing track, Dairyland Greyhound Park, closes, and the state is left with no live pari-mutuel racing facilities despite them being perfectly legal.
- 2017: For the second year in a row, the efforts to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports fall through.
- 2021: Gov. Tony Evers closes a deal with the Oneida Nation to legalize sports betting.
- 2022: The Oneida Nation opens a retail sportsbook in Green Bay and introduces a sports betting mobile app.
Although the lottery is legal in Wisconsin, residents can only buy lottery tickets at authorized retail locations, as the state’s laws forbid online purchases.
If you want to get in-depth information about Wisconsin’s poker laws and regulations, you should refer to official legal documents. Here are some of the best resources to explore:
- Wisconsin Statutes, Criminal Code — Chapter 945 — GAMBLING
- Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)
- Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006
Best Legal Poker Rooms in Wisconsin
Now that we’ve explored where Wisconsin stands when it comes to gambling in general, let’s find out where and how you can play the famous card game in the Badger State.
Legal Online Poker in California
As we’ve already mentioned, Wisconsin hasn’t legalized online poker. Unlike some other states that don’t explicitly mention online gambling, Wisconsin’s statutes clearly define this activity:
Any and all instrumentalities, personnel, and services, and among other things the receipt, forwarding or delivery of communications used or useful in the transmission of writings, signs, pictures and sounds of all kinds by means of wire, cable, microwave or other like connection between the points of origin and reception of such transmission.
This definition is part of a law that prohibits the placing of bets using wire communication, with the bet being defined as:
A bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the agreement.
Whether you consider poker to be a game of skill or chance, this definition clearly covers it, indubitably labeling online poker as illegal. Apart from that, according to section 945.02 of Wisconsin’s Criminal Code, engaging in any form of illegal gambling activity is classified as a Class B misdemeanor and punishable by law.
Despite that, the state has never prosecuted players for playing poker on offshore sites, so you have nothing to worry about in this regard. Still, as we can’t provide legal advice, we urge you to seek professional counsel if you have any doubts.
In addition to that, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act prevents US banks from handling money transactions to and from offshore online poker sites. However, you can bypass this issue by using alternative payment methods, such as e-wallets.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Legal Land-Based Poker in Wisconsin
Land-based casino gambling in Wisconsin was out of the picture up until 1988, when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act paved the way for the legalization of gambling on Indian reservations. The first tribal casino, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, opened in Milwaukee in 1991 and also became the first establishment in the state to offer Class III gaming.
Since then, over two dozen Indian casinos have sprung up on the reservations of Wisconsin’s 11 Native American tribes. Featuring a Class III license, these venues can offer poker games in addition to other table games and Vegas-style slot machines.
Ever since Indian casinos were approved, it has been smooth sailing from the legislative standpoint. There haven’t been any major changes in the state’s laws, except for the deal between Gov. Tony Evers and the Oneida Nation to allow sports betting on their reservation.
When it comes to commercial gambling, there is nothing on the horizon. Even if some efforts to legalize this activity emerge, they are likely to be stifled by the Native American tribes of the state, as this move would jeopardize their position on the market.
How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in Wisconsin
If you’re wondering how you can start playing poker on offshore poker sites, we’re here to guide you. You don’t have to jump through any hoops to create an account, as the process is quite simple and fast. Here is a quick step-by-step guide:
Choose A Poker Room
Scour our list of the best offshore poker sites and go for the one that you like best. Pay attention to the types of games and bonuses they offer to choose an operator that meets your needs and preferences.
Fill in the registration form to sign up. You’ll need to provide your name, date of birth, email address, phone number, and other personal and contact information to complete this step.
Some sites may ask you to go through a verification process. In that case, copy the code sent to your phone or click the link you received by email to activate your account.
Deposit & Play
You’ll need some funds in your bankroll to play poker for real money. Most offshore poker rooms let you top up your balance using an array of payment methods, including credit/debit cards, e-wallets, prepaid vouchers and even crypto such as Bitcoin.
Your deposit will become available immediately, so you can go straight to the site’s game section and get the ball rolling. Good luck!
Land-based Casinos With Live Poker
Wisconsin currently has 26 Indian land-based casinos, owned and operated by the state’s 11 Native American tribes. However, although all of these establishments are allowed to offer poker games, only two of them actually do. These are:
- Oneida Casino Main-Airport — 2020 Airport Drive, Green Bay, WI 54313
- Potawatomi Hotel & Casino — 1721 West Canal Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233
Although Wisconsin has a well-developed Indian gambling scene, the state continues to be adamant about prohibiting online gambling in any form, including online poker. Luckily, offshore sites are there to offer an alternative to Wisconsinites who enjoy engaging in this activity.
If you decide to join these internationally-regulated poker platforms but don’t know where to begin, explore our recommendations on this page. Read our reviews, compare the sites, and choose the ones that fit your gaming style. Our list contains only the best of the best, so you can’t go wrong with whichever brand you choose.
Is online poker legal in Wisconsin?
Are there any land-based poker rooms in Wisconsin?
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Are there commercial casinos in Wisconsin?
About The Author
Adrian Sterne Editor
Hi, I am the Chief Editor of top10pokersites.net, this site is dedicated to all thing poker. I have been working around the poker industry for the last 15 years, with different brands. The main purpose of this site is to keep you uptodate with the industry and offer you the best deals around.