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 Wisconsin: Casinos, Gambling & Poker 

Wisconsin Casinos, Gambling and Poker

Wisconsin gambling is more of an interesting activity as hordes of people in the state give patronized support to the irresistible addiction of the sweepstakes and the casino. The youth and teen gambling is also getting upbeat thanks to the snazzy approach to gambling in Wisconsin. What with the increase in state lotteries, brightly lit royal casinos, betting on sports and online gambling opportunities. The mention of a state name like Wisconsin would make you recall the state’s age old charm and penchant for gambling and the casino craze.

Big cities in the Wisconsin state reflect the mood of the place to go for the riches. The youth looks toward gambling as a form of entertainment with positive rewards. Go to any casino or gambling joint in Wisconsin, and you could take in the aura of people who are bent on taking risks and going the extra mile to get richer. The slots and the video poker in the tavern, wear a busy look as the patrons focus on the sweep stakes. The poker and the pari-mutuel is widely cherished in the state. Most of the times, you would see tourists getting enthralled by the gambling fever and the casino craze. The tourists who stay in hotels mingle with the townsfolk for an interesting round of crane games or casinos. There are gambling tournaments held in the state where tourists residing in lodgings and hotels participate with avid interest.

People in Wisconsin regard gambling as something which in itself is not objectionable but has the potential of causing harm if it is an activity irresponsibly engaged in. The Wisconsinans have it right when they say that gambling is bad only if you bet on money which you can’t afford to lose.

Legalized gambling in Wisconsin which began with promotional contests in 1965, has grown to include pari-mutuel on-track wagering, charitable bingo and raffles, and the state lottery. Legalized gambling in Wisconsin has evolved over more than 150 years from a complete constitutional exclusion of any gaming activity to the current scenario in which the state and certain entities, including charitable organizations indulge in a variety of entertaining gaming activities.

There have been amendments to the Wisconsin constititution approved to permit charitable bingo (1973), charitable raffles (1977), pari-mutuel on-track wagering on racing (1987), and the state lottery (1987). Also, the slot machines and Blackjack are offered at 16 major casinos that are operated within the state by eleven Indian tribes or negotiated between the tribes and the state with regards to the Federal law.

Apart from the private players, the state of Wisconsin may offer informational knowledge about the lottery and also disclose the sales locations, the ticket prices, the prize structures, the playing rules and regulations, the time, date and venue of the drawing, the names and identity of the winners and the prizes won. The state also makes it a point to make the people aware of the lottery played as a gambling motive. Advertisements are creatively done to arouse the feeling of winning it big and hence there has been a debate over the thin line between informative advertising and promotional advertising. Creative presentation of these topics is not pro­hibited, but there has been controversy over the line between informational and promotional advertising. 95 percent of the people in the state that they indulge in lottery because they are motivated more by greed rather than the need. They gamble because they like to and not because they have to.

The profitability of the tavern industry has been affected in recent years by several factors, including the raising of the drinking age from 18 to 21 and the increasing popularity of Indian tribal casinos. In an attempt to be ahead of competition, many taverns have opted to give patrons electronic slot machines and video poker. Efforts to legalize video gambling in taverns as part of the state lottery were excluded by the April 1993 constitutional amendment. Before the passage of 1999 Wisconsin Act 9, the owner of the video gambling machines could be charged with a felony. The new law has:

  • Removed the threat that a tavern could have its alcohol beverage license revoked solely because of the machines.
  • Reduced the penalty to possession of five or fewer video gambling machines in an establishment licensed to serve alcohol beverages for consumption on the premises, such as a tavern or restaurant to a civil offense, subject to a fine of up to $500 per machine. Criminal penalties are however retained for exceeding the 5-machine threshold in a tavern or restaurant or having any such machine in a place other than those establishments.

    The Internet Gambling is an area of growing concern for state and federal law enforcement authorities because it is betting online. There are virtual casinos set up that bets on sporting events, lotteries and play simulated games. So a conscious effort has been taken by the Wisconsin government that every home does not have a computer which serves as a mini gambling center because children may develop a gambling attitude if they come in contact with these games at an early age. Though the Wisconsin Attor­ney general had filed lawsuits against Internet gambling operators, there are certain activities which are exempted from the gambling laws. There are games which have a fair amount of skill other than just the luck element, so sporting events, stock and commodity prices and games like online pinball could pass of as legal gambling.

    Crane games are coin-operated amusement devices that allow the player an opportunity to win inexpensive merchandise prizes. . By operating controls to maneuver steel-clawed crane within a glass-enclosed cubicle, the player attempts to pick up and win merchandise. 1987 Wisconsin Act 329 legalized the devices but required that skill must be the major influencing factor of play and only those prizes contained inside the machine could be given off as prizes. The wholesale value of a prize may be not more than seven times the cost charged to play or $5, whichever is less. Operators installing the games in their establishments have to pay a one-time licensing fee to the state.

    Gambling and casinos are a form of life and entertainment in the happy go lucky state of Wisconsin. They play it big, they play it well and they play it well enough to win it big!

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