Wisconsin Poker Sites, Not by State but Still Offshore
Wisconsin has the same view on unregulated gambling as the rest of the U.S. States; it does not like it and has strict laws in place to prevent it. The best method Wisconsin has had as far as defining gambling, is by defining the main aspect of gambling, the bet.
(1) BET. A bet is 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.
Based on this statute, Wisconsin is encompassing all forms of gambling, as they state that games of chance are illegal, even if there is some skill involved. They do use the Dominant Factor Test to determine if a game involves more skill or chance; it is not stated in their statutes, so it can be assumed that games that involve a higher degree of skill would be permissible. Anyone caught gambling illegally could face misdemeanor charges, and those caught operating the illegal gambling could face felony charges.
Gambling Allowed in Wisconsin
Wisconsin does provide a few gambling options for their residents. They have some great tribal casinos, as well as pari-mutuel gambling on horse races; even though the State itself does not permit any racetracks. They do have a state-run lottery, and charitable gambling is allowed to have raffles and bingo games; as long as they are licensed.
There appears to be no exception for social gambling in the Wisconsin statutes. What we do find is the fact that Wisconsin outlaws any type of betting that happens in an unregulated setting. This would include social gambling, as it is not expressly authorized by the State, it would fall under the general definition, making it illegal.
Online Poker Law
Wisconsin has stated that gambling online is illegal, but there are no explicit statutes in their law indicating that playing poker online is illegal. What they do have is a transmission law:
945.03 Commercial gambling.
(g) For gain, uses a wire communication facility for the transmission or receipt of information assisting in the placing of a bet or offer to bet on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of a bet or offer to bet.
However, this transmission law seems to be more focused on sports betting rather than casino-style games, which would include poker. There is still a gray area between online poker and Wisconsin law.
Land Based Casinos and Tribal Stances
Wisconsin does not have or allow any forms of commercial casinos or racetracks, but what they do have is a good amount of tribal gambling options, including casinos. These tribal casinos are allowed to use Class III games, which would include poker and other table games; these are the only places a person can play regulated forms of poker. Wisconsin has not really had any problems with the tribal casinos, as long as they follow the law and get the proper licensing.
State Regulated Online Poker
Estimated Date of Legalized Online Poker in Wisconsin: 2019-2020
Wisconsin does not seem to be a very likely candidate to regulate online poker in the near future, not because they are not willing, but because they simply do not have the capacity to do it. What they lack is a motivating and influential force that pushes the state towards working with the tribal casinos. Other than these obstacles, it would seem that Wisconsin has no issues against regulating online poker sites.
Wisconsin has a state-run lottery that was initially televised from 1991 up until 2003; the Wisconsin Lottery Money Game was the shows name. Residents can purchase lottery tickets over the internet.
Online Poker Sites
There is a big gray area between Wisconsin’s gambling law and their transmission law, as they do not specifically outlaw all online gambling; most of it is directed towards sports betting. For this reason, and because Wisconsin has not shown too much interest in pursuing online poker players, that its residents could then enjoy playing poker at sites like Ignition Poker or BetOnline which are recommended here.