Potawatomi Casino Hotel launches sportsbook

NOW: Potawatomi Casino Hotel launches sportsbook

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Potawatomi Casino Hotel opened its first sportsbook Friday, March 31, offering bettors an option that has been absent from the southeastern Wisconsin region until now, and one local leaders hope will spark a strong economic impact.

"We couldn't be more excited to bring this to the entire city and the region and the phenomenal opportunity to come join us for sports betting," Potawatomi CEO Dominic Ortiz said during an event marking the opening of the sportsbook.

Ortiz and other Potawatomi leaders joined Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the sports betting operation.

Mayor Johnson placed the first official bet at the new sportsbook, placing a $20 wager on the Milwaukee Bucks to win the NBA championship.

The mayor hopes the sportsbooks continue to generate dollars that will stay in the region, as opposed to other sportsbooks located in northeastern Wisconsin or northern Illinois.

"Having a sportsbook only helps to elevate Milwaukee and create jobs and opportunity for people here in our city," Johnson told reporters. "So real, real excited for this addition and what it'll mean for Potawatomi and not only for its employees but for tourism in the city and really the entire state of Wisconsin."

The sportsbooks is located in the casino featuring kiosks as well as ticket writers to also take in wagers. The lounge area has seats, multiple TVs and a bar serving food and drinks.

But construction is set to begin on the eventual main and permanent section of the sportsbook located at the old Northern Lights Theater.

"We opted to turn the Northern Lights Theater into one of the biggest and boldest retail sportsbook," Ortiz said. "It's like Buffalo Wild Wings on steroids with great food, great VIP and a 120-foot LED screen that will be the most amazing experience of any of your sports teams."

The permanent sportsbook location is expected to be open for the public by the first quarter of 2024.

Sportsbook in Des Plaines, Ill. or Caesars Sportsbook at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill. Now, Potawatomi offers a closer option for people in southeastern Wisconsin.

But Wisconsin remains an outlier in the region with Iowa, Illinois and Michigan offering online betting.

Still, bettors seeking brick and mortar locations for placing wagers say the Potawatomi sportsbook offers convenience.

"I'm excited about it, I think it's a little bit overdue," Dell Taylor of Milwaukee told CBS 58. "I usually go down to [BetRivers Sportsbook in Des Plaines], travel an hour and fifteen minutes to the sportsbook, now I can go door-to-door in fifteen minutes to come out to Potawatomi and betting on sports, it's exciting."

The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling offers resources, which can be found here.

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