The horse racing industry in Wisconsin has seen better days with no racetracks in operation today. However, off-track betting facilities (OTBs) at casinos and online horse racing betting sites provide a means to bet on horse races held elsewhere.
State law on online horse racing betting isn’t clear, but a number of the industry’s top operators accept accounts from Wisconsin without issue.
Legal Horse Racing Betting Sites in WI
Online Horse Racing Betting in Wisconsin
It remains legal to bet on horse racing in Wisconsin in spite of the lack of operating racetracks. Chapter 562 of the Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations is dedicated to the rules and regulations surrounding racing and pari mutuel wagering.
Section 562.057 addresses simulcasting and intertrack racing.
(1) An intertrack wagering licensee may accept wagers on races that are conducted at 2 or more host tracks during the same race day with the approval of the department.
(3) An intertrack wagering licensee is solely responsible for maintaining the pari-mutuel pools on the races on which the intertrack wagering licensee conducts intertrack wagering and for making all payouts on intertrack wagers. Each race performance on which intertrack wagering is conducted is considered a separate race day for purposes of ss. 562.065 and 562.08.
However, confusion arises upon review of Section 562.11, which addresses prohibited wagering activities.
(1) Place any wager on a race at any location except at a racetrack.
(2) Facilitate off-track wagers or conduct an operation through which off-track wagers are transmitted to a racetrack. The acceptance of an intertrack wager at a racetrack that does not meet the criteria specified under s. 562.05 (6m) (b) 2. is considered to be the acceptance of an off-track wager and the facilitation of an off-track wager.
Despite the legal gray area, online operators continue to service the state’s residents. We can safely assume that these major companies wouldn’t be doing so if they were concerned that they were violating some kind of clear law or statute.
Licensed Wisconsin Racetracks
There are no currently operating racetracks in Wisconsin. Those looking for the thrill of racing in person are relegated to the county fair circuit, which will occasionally feature harness racing. The Wisconsin Harness Horse Association oversees that and keeps an updated schedule of events online.
Outside of that, those looking for a road trip to watch the races in-person can check out neighboring Illinois and Minnesota, both of which have a pair of operating horse racing venues.
Off-Track Betting in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is home to two off-track betting facilities:
Potawatomi Casino OTB (closed until further notice)
721 West Canal Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233
Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells OTB (closed until further notice)
S3214 County Road BD
Baraboo, WI 53913
Wisconsin Horse Racing Betting Laws
Despite the lack of operating racetracks in Wisconsin, there are still laws on the books surrounding the industry. Chapter 562 of the Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations focuses on the regulation of racing and pari mutuel racing.
Unfortunately, there’s no clarity on the legality of online horse racing to be found. However, a number of top online operators service the state’s residents and allow them to open accounts without issue.
Major Horse Racing Events in Wisconsin
There are no operating racetracks in the state of Wisconsin. Online and off-track betting remain the only horse racing betting options for Wisconsin residents.
Horse racing betting sites currently serve as the best option for easy parimutuel wagering in Wisconsin with wagering on races held at tracks across the nation. That includes the signature events of the calendar year, such as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup.