The Potawatomi Hotel and Casino will launch sports gaming this year

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

The tribe plans to open a sports betting site in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley by the end of the year, according to a statement released Friday.

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

The signed amendment has been sent to the US Department of the Interior where it will be subject to a 45-day review.

Forest Potawatomi County Chairman Ned Daniels Jr. said the pact 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 with the tools to compete in the marketplace and give us the business certainty to continue our investments in Milwaukee and throughout state,” Daniels said in a statement.

Potawatomi Hotel and Casino spokesman Ryan Amundson said he was pleased with Gov. Tony Evers’ decision.

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“Sports betting is a form of betting that is growing in popularity across the country, and being able to offer it here will help us stay competitive,” he said. “We are happy that our guests do not have to travel to place this bet.”

Forest Potawatomi County has been one of the most profitable tribes in the state thanks to the Milwaukee Casino. But, like every other entertainment venue, the pandemic has been a blow to the business.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the tribe earned about $100 million less than the year before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to tax records.

The casino earned at least $293 million from players in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2021, more than 28% less than its 2019 total. The casino earned at least $292 million in 2020, according to the Journal Sentinel.

In a statement on Friday, Evers said the new pact will allow people to enjoy sports betting and other events while “benefiting from the economic growth of the tribe.”

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

The amendment extends the duration of the current pact until 2061.

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