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Potawatomi Hotel and Casino to launch sports gambling this year

Milwaukee casino will be the third in Wisconsin to allow sports betting

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Milwaukee
John Begalke (CC BY 2.0)

The Forest County Potawatomi Community has signed a compact agreement with the state of Wisconsin that will allow for sports gambling at its two casinos, including Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee.

The tribe plans to open a sports book venue at Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley by the end of the year, according to a statement released Friday.

The amendment with the state is similar to compacts signed with the Oneida Nation, which started sports betting in November and the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.

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The signed amendment was sent to the U.S. Department of Interior, where it will undergo a 45-day review.

Forest County Potawatomi Chairman Ned Daniels Jr. said the compact will allow the tribe to compete with other tribes.

“We appreciate Governor Evers and his Administration working with us in a government-to-government manner to provide our Tribe the tools needed to compete in the marketplace and giving us the business certainty to continue our investments in Milwaukee and throughout the state,” Daniels said in a statement.

Potawatomi Hotel and Casino spokesman Ryan Amundson said they’re elated by the decision from Gov. Tony Evers.

“Sports betting is a form of wagering that is gaining increased popularity across the country, and being able to offer it here will allow us to remain competitive,” he said. “We’re happy our guests won’t have to travel to place that bet.”

The Forest County Potawatomi has been one of the most profitable tribes in the state thanks to the Milwaukee casino. But, like every other entertainment venue, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a hit for the business. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the tribe won about $100 million less than the year before the pandemic hit, tax records show.

The casino won at least $293 million from gamblers during the 12-month period that ended June 30, 2021, more than 28 percent below its 2019 total. The casino won at least $292 million in 2020, according to the Journal Sentinel.

In a statement released Friday, Evers said the new compact will allow people to enjoy sports and other event wagering while “benefiting the tribe’s economic growth.”

“I look forward to continuing our partnership together to find new opportunities that support and bolster the tribe’s success and our state’s success for years to come,” Evers said in the statement.

The amendment extends the term of the current compact to 2061.