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ONEIDA, Wis. — The Oneida Nation announced a new sports betting venture on July 1, following the amendment of its gaming compact with the state of Wisconsin in a signing ceremony with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on the same day.

“The Oneida Casino aims to commence sports betting at its main casino in early fall 2021 which will include retail, kiosks, and mobile wagering at select locations,” Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill said, according to reporting from the Oneida Nation. “Thirty years ago our Nation signed its first gaming compact in 1991. At that time we were a reservation struggling but fighting to grow our economy to ensure a better quality of life for our people. Since that time we have grown tremendously and I thank those who came before us for laying the foundation so that we can offer a better way of life for our tribal members today.”

The compact amendment allows for "event wagering," which includes sports betting and televised events such as awards shows and professional sports league drafts.

Chad Fuss, the tribe’s spokesperson for the new venture, said the Oneida Nation submitted documents on July 2 for the Department of the Interior’s approval, which can take up to 45 days. The Oneida Nation said it hopes to have a temporary location for sports betting near its sports bar up and running by football season this fall, although Fuss said mobile betting will not be immediately available. The tribe added that the sports bar will be remodeled to accommodate a permanent sports betting lounge. 

“I think a lot of our general tribal council members, or membership, understands that as we can provide more opportunities for customers to come to visit Oneida Casino, that it really helps our economy within the Oneida Nation as well as the greater Green Bay area,” Fuss told Native News Online. “Our membership is very in tune with driving revenue to help our economy as well as the local economy around us, also.”  

“A historic day for our state”

The tribe said betting will be allowed on professional and amateur sporting events, televised award shows, Olympic events, and professional sports league drafts. Fuss said that the new venture aims to attract sports fans who may not gamble often in a region known for its love of the Green Bay Packers football team.

“This is a historic day for our state, and it will serve as a major milestone in the state’s partnership with the Oneida Nation for generations to come,” Evers said, according to reporting from the Oneida Nation. “Today, Chairman Hill and I will sign the compact amendment to allow event wagering from Packers’ games to the Oscars to occur in the state of Wisconsin. This will be the first time that event wagering will be permitted in Wisconsin in recent history.” 

According to Fuss, the Oneida Nation will manage the day-to-day operations of the wagering while an outside partner houses sports betting data, provides advice, and manages the mobile application for mobile wagering. Fuss said geo-fencing technology will be used to ensure that betting on the upcoming mobile application will take place on handpicked Oneida properties.

Fuss said that the Oneida Nation is following the path of states whose legal sports betting operations have reduced illegal gambling, as well as many states’ “common practice” of prohibiting betting on college sports. According to the American Gaming Association, most of the $58 billion wagered on NFL and college football games every year is done through illegal channels. 

“What we’ve understood too is that customers are really looking for the integrity of regulated event wagering and sports bet booking, and knowing that Wisconsin is a very highly regulated state for gambling, we thought it would fit right into what we’re trying to do—provide a regulated offering to our customers with integrity,” Fuss said. 

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Andrew Kennard
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Reporting Intern
Andrew Kennard is a freelance writer for Native News Online. Kennard, a junior at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, has interned with Native News Online for two summers. He has also done freelance reporting for the Iowa Capital Dispatch and the Wisconsin Examiner, and he is a beat writer at The Times-Delphic, Drake's student newspaper.