Legal Online Poker For Wisconsin Residents

Wisconsin is one of a handful of states with a law on the books that directly addresses the legality of online poker in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's SB 945.01 part 6 defines online gambling as " . . . the receipt, forwarding, or delivery of communications used . . . in the transmission of writings, signs, pictures and sounds of all kinds by means of wire, cable, microwave or other like connection" between a gambler and a gambling provider. That explicitly makes placing real money wagers at online poker sites illegal for citizens of Wisconsin.

Is Online Poker Legal In Wisconsin?


The good news for online poker players in Wisconsin is that the penalties for breaking state laws against online gambling aren't nearly as harsh as other anti-gambling states. Should a Wisconsin online poker player be convicted of gambling while playing online poker, the worst they could face is a Class B misdemeanor. Further gambling convictions could lead to a later felony charge, though it's important to point out that no Wisconsin-based online poker player has ever been convicted, and the state says that their focus is on the poker sites or casino gambling sites themselves, and not the people playing their games.

Legal Online Poker Sites For Wisconsin Residents

Any of the poker sites listed on this site are more than willing and in fact very happy to welcome Wisconsin residents into their online poker sites. We recommend sticking with Bovada, BetOnline, or even Intertops when committing to play poker online in Wisconsin.

BetOnline Poker - All Wisconsin Residents Welcome

If you've never played online poker before, BetOnline is a great place to get your start. BetOnline isn't flooded with tons of players looking to prey on rookie players. That's not saying you will not find them there but there are less. BetOnline hosts tournaments around the clock with several freerolls in there that have real value. Also, the ring games are plentiful & set for all stake levels. There shouldn't be an issue finding a table that fits comfortably into your bankroll. It also doesn't hurt to get 25% to $900 every time.


SportsBetting Poker - 25% Up To $900 Bonus Available On Every Deposit

With the poker room available at, residents of Wisconsin may soon feel like renaming their state to Win-consin, on account of how much money there is to be made by going to one of the most revolutionary poker sites on the web. Not one to get stuck in the old ways of the past, SportsBetting is blazing a path forward in online poker by offering several poker tables available for all players, not just a couple at a time.

For those looking to make a quick buck, the sit and go tables at SportsBetting are the pièce de résistance. A room dedicated to fast money games, it is the paradise of those who want to increase their bankroll for big tournaments, or just grab a whole lot of cash really quick. All hours of the day are prime time, as long as a player can keep playing the hands, the money will keep on flowing.  SportsBetting also offers a great deal of guaranteed cash tournaments. It is like the strongman competition at fairs, a way to see how tough one really is. These tournaments are a no nonsense, no holds barred affair where the toughest players in the U.S. gather and dare all who enter to try and match their card prowess. For poker players who truly enjoy the game there is little more exciting than the fast pace and constant action of tournaments available at SportsBetting.

Wisconsin Online Poker Laws

One hint as to the nature of Wisconsin's distrust of online poker as a skill game lies in the wording of their laws against gambling. Unlike other states with even harsher anti-gaming policies, Wisconsin has a built-in profit seizure clause, stating that "Anything of value received by any person as a prize in any lottery or game conducted in violation of this chapter shall be forfeited to the state." Clearly, Wisconsin has no problem taking money as part of an anti-gambling action. Couldn't the state be convinced that profits from regulating online poker are even higher than potential profits from seizing poker winnings?

When the US Department of Justice released a legal opinion late in 2011 that redefined the scope of the 1961 Federal Wire Act, many state governments saw their chance to get a piece of the huge American online poker market. Looking to Europe and right here in America to the model proposed in New Jersey and Nevada, states are hoping to regulate and license their own online poker networks and other online gaming ventures. Wisconsin is suffering from budget problems that have become familiar to the entire nation after vocal and visible protests in 2011. Why can't Wisconsin legislators put 2 and 2 together and realize that legal and regulated online poker could solve their state's budget woes?

Often, anti-gambling laws are rooted in moral and even religious convictions. Some people can't shake the Wild West image of poker as a lawless and dangerous game that usually results in a gun battle, and when these people take positions of power in state government, anti-gambling laws pop up. Wisconsin has not followed the lead of other states, suggesting they're leaning towards regulating poker within the state's borders.

Though the Federal Wire Act can no longer be used against you, but the state's legal position on poker play over the Internet is clear: you can be charged and you can have your poker account seized, however there is no record of the state of Wisconsin charging any resident with playing poker online... the only thing to ever happen was the Federal government's Black Friday crack down on illegal online poker sites.

Is there Legal Land Based Poker in Wisconsin?

If you live in Wisconsin and have a thirst for hot poker action, one of the surest bets you can make is that you’re not alone. However, you may be wondering what state laws mean for you and all of your cheese headed pals.

Strangely enough, you really have to divide Wisconsin in half when it comes to its state laws regarding poker. On the one hand, according to the letter of the law, gambling in any form (of which the law leaves no room for doubt that poker is included) is not permissible by law within state borders, and can be considered a misdemeanor charge.

For those who would seek to carve out a profit for themselves by facilitating gambling, the penalties are even steeper. Anyone seen as collecting profits from facilitating gambling of any sort may be brought up on felony charges in Wisconsin courts and face not only steep fines, but jail time. Make sure you stay well away from anything that could be construed like that!

On the other hand, Wisconsin is home to some territory that is considered a Native American reservation, where there is no legislation on gambling. Here, in these legal poker rooms that are open to the public, Wisconsin residents may play poker for both fun and profit as much as they wish.

When it comes to private home games, although they are technically illegal, you don’t have to worry. There has never been a single case of the police bothering a private game. In fact, you just need to worry about the distinction between making profit off hosting your friends. As long as you don’t collect a “rake” or charge admission to your poker game, you will not be construed in the eyes of the law as a gambling facilitator, and therefore will probably not face any legal charges.

Where to Play Legal Poker in Wisconsin

If you’re looking to get some poker in and you live in Wisconsin, the only real option you have for fully a fully legalized game is in the Native American reservation. There are a few different legal poker rooms here.

Luckily, there just may be enough options to make it worth the drive if you live far away from these reservations which, unless you happen to live in there yourself, you probably do. Within these poker rooms, you’ll be able to find no limit hold ‘em tournaments with buys ins varying from the recreational $35 all the way up to buy-ins over $300 for the serious poker player.

With this great variance in wager opportunities, these legal Wisconsin poker rooms should easily be able to cater to all levels of interest in poker.

Despite what a far drive this can be for most residents of Wisconsin, it is really the only recommended course of action if you want to play poker for any serious amount of money without having to lose any close friends. Even though there are bound to be some illicit poker games available to those who look, the risk you would take by participating not only legally but to your personal safety means that these are NOT wise avenues to take simply to pay a few hands of poker, no matter how much you love the game.

Note: The above is not legal advice and does not come from a lawyer. For questions about Wisconsin law and online poker, consult a lawyer. As long as you do your homework about legal online poker in the United States before you just start gambling. Stick to trusted poker sites and you should be in good shape and should not run into any problems. You can also check out some other websites to read more about legal poker in the U.S.A..


For the best legal poker site accepting Wisconsin residents, Bovada has earned our vote. They are the most professional poker establishment and it really shows. They are built on strong software and more players have been switching to Bovada than any other online poker room over the last 12 months. Try Bovada & see why yourself