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St. Croix Chippewa Indians to offer legal sports betting in its casinos

St. Croix tribe joins Oneida Nation as it signs gaming compact amendment

Screens show sports and betting odds in the sports book as workers finish work at the Circa Resort & Casino
Screens show sports and betting odds in the sports book as workers finish work at the Circa Resort & Casino, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas. John Locher/AP Photo

The St. Croix Chippewa Indians will soon join the Oneida Nation in legally offering sports betting at the tribe’s casinos.

Gov. Tony Evers and St. Croix Tribal Chairman William Reynolds signed a gaming compact amendment Monday to allow “event wagering” on sports and other events. The change is subject to a 45-day review by the U.S. Department of Interior, which is expected to sign off on the amendment.

“I’m grateful for Chairman Reynolds and the St. Croix Chippewa Tribal Council for their efforts to negotiate this compact,” Evers said in a statement Monday. “Event wagering will bring new opportunities for employment and revenue growth to the Tribe and provide a welcome boost to our recovering tourism and entertainment industries.”

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The St. Croix Tribal Council approved the change Nov. 30 after months of negotiations between the tribe and the state. Reynolds said the tribe is following the lead of the Oneida Nation, which recently became the first Wisconsin tribe to offer legal sports betting.

“It means a lot to us, not just economically for the tribe itself, but it also helps our tourism in our counties that our casinos reside in,” Reynolds said.

The St. Croix tribe is adding a sports betting facility within its Turtle Lake casino. Reynolds said the tribe will also offer sports betting at its two other casinos in Hertel and Danbury.

The tribe will be able to offer wagering on professional sports, such as Packers, Bucks or Brewers games. Betting on college or high school sports won’t be allowed. The tribe is making additions and acquiring kiosks with the hopes of having all equipment operational by the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.

“We’re still working on our construction. We’re working on our policies and procedures, fine-tuning them to get ready to go,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the tribe is contending with some supply chain delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting they’re waiting for materials to make additions within its Turtle Lake casino.

The change to the gaming compact will allow people to bet remotely on tribal land or within tribal properties that are located on land that’s held in trust by the federal government. Reynolds said only in-person betting will be allowed until they can confirm bets are made on tribal properties through geo-tracking, which is a method of determining someone’s location through a smartphone or other devices.

A Department of Administration spokesperson said the state is engaged in several tribal negotiations about sports betting, but declined to provide further details. The Forest County Potawatomi is among other Wisconsin tribes said to be seeking a similar gaming compact amendment with the state to allow sports betting.