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Evers, Oneida sign deal to allow sports betting in Wisconsin

July 1, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers and the Oneida Nation signed an agreement Thursday to allow betting on sporting events for the first time in Wisconsin, joining a growing number of states that have embraced sports wagering as a means of generating revenue.

The governor and the tribe announced the deal at the tribe’s casino just outside Green Bay. They said they have amended the tribe’s gambling compact with the state to allow wagering on professional sporting events including NFL, NBA and MLB games, professional sports drafts and nationally televised award shows.

The deal does not permit betting on college sports, elections or events with participants under age 19. Wagering would be allowed at the Oneida’s casino. Remote event wagering would be allowed on tribal properties. For example, someone standing in a tribal parking lot or in a tribal facility would be able to place bets using his or her cellphone, state Department of Administration spokeswoman Tatyana Warrick said.

Evers said in a news release that event wagering would create new employment opportunities for the tribe. Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill said in the release that it would boost tourism.

Existing state and tribal gambling compacts require the tribes to pay the state a percentage of their winnings in exchange for the exclusive right to offer gambling. DOA spokeswoman Olivia Hwang said the wagering amendment doesn’t call for the tribe to increase its payment to the state. However, if event wagering generates more revenue for the tribe the state’s overall take would increase too.

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Aides for state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, both Republicans, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The compact amendment is subject to review by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. That agency will have a 45-day window to approve or reject the deal.

Event wagering has expanded across the country in recent years in hopes of capturing more revenue. Indiana, Iowa and Michigan legalized sports betting in 2019. Ohio legislators say legalizing sports betting will be a priority this fall. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorized mobile sports betting in that state in April.

VIXIO Gambling Compliance, a company that tracks gambling legislation and performance, issued a report in January predicting revenue for legal sports betting could reach $3.1 billion in 2021 and grow to as much as $10 billion within five years.

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Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1