Potawatomi gets state approval to add sports betting at its casinos

Will open sports book venue this year at Milwaukee casino

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee

Last updated on May 9th, 2022 at 03:19 pm

The Forest County Potawatomi Community has reached a deal with the state allowing the tribe’s casinos, including Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, and affiliate locations to offer event wagering on sports and non-sports events.

A press release from Gov. Tony Evers’ office states a compact amendment was signed between both parties, which is now headed to the U.S. Department of Interior for a 45-day review. No additional state or county approvals for the deal are needed, according to a Potawatomi representative.

With approval now granted for sports betting, the tribe also announced Friday that it plans to build a sports book venue by the end of this year at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee.

At the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s All-Member Meeting in late November, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino CEO and general manager Dominic Ortiz spoke and said the tribe plans to invest $150 million in Milwaukee. No additional details were given and it is unclear if that includes plans for the sports book.

The amendment also extends the term of the tribe’s current compact with the state to 2061.

The existing compact requires Potawatomi to annually pay the state 6.5% of the “net win” for their large casino in Milwaukee, and a sliding scale of up to 5% of net win for their smaller casino in Carter, Wisconsin.

George Ermert, spokesman for the Forest County Potawatomi, confirmed Friday there are no other changes to the current compact aside from increasing its duration.

“These discussions take time to hammer out and the state and Potawatomi worked diligently on this,” Ermert said.

He said the new sports betting venue will be an addition to the current hotel and casino, not an entirely new venue.

No additional details about the compact amendment with the state were provided and a spokesperson for the governor’s office could not immediately be reached.

“I am glad for the good work of Chairman (Ned) Daniels, the Forest County Potawatomi, and the folks at the Department of Administration to get this done so folks can enjoy sports and other event wagering in our state while benefitting the Tribe’s economic growth,” said Evers in a statement. “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.”

This compact amendment comes shortly after Evers signed similar compacts with the Oneida Nation and the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin and will open the door for the Forest County Potawatomi to begin offering sports and event wagering at its two casinos and adjacent lands in the Menominee Valley and Forest County.

“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,” said Daniels.

In addition to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, the tribe has the Potawatomi Carter Casino Hotel in northern Wisconsin. Ermert said sports betting is not yet in the plans for that location.

“At this point in time, we are only talking about offering this at the Milwaukee facility,” Ermert said. “We’re able to offer it at both facilities but right now we’re focused on brining that amenity to our Milwaukee facility.”

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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