Potawatomi Hotel & Casino replacing Northern Lights Theater with permanent sportsbook

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin sports fans will soon be able to bet on games at Potawatomi Casino Hotel.

Construction will soon begin on what will be the area's first sportsbook.

The casino announced Monday a temporary sportsbook will be up and running within the next two or three weeks. It could be open in time for the Super Bowl. A permanent sportsbook should be finished by the end of the year.

Potawatomi Casino Hotel CEO & General Manager Dominic Ortiz said, "We know that in the Midwest, with a sports town such as this, it's going to bring phenomenal excitement and traffic to the casino."

The new sportsbook could make Potawatomi Casino Hotel even more of a destination for gamblers throughout the Midwest.

A mobile app is also being developed. In about four months, people will be able to bet from their phones while on casino property. The permanent sportsbook should open by the end of the year.

But first is a temporary location, which will be up and running in just a few weeks.

Ortiz said, "You come watch a game, now you have that opportunity to place that bet and enjoy a whole new level of excitement here in the city."

When construction is finished on the entire project, there will be 17 total kiosks at two locations, open 24 hours a day.

The permanent sportsbook will be located in the northwest corner of the casino, replacing the Northern Lights Theater and the Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill. Casino leaders say this new expansion will help keep millions of dollars in sports betting revenue from leaving the state.

Ortiz said, "We'd love to keep the money in Wisconsin, keep generating the tax dollars for the city, and keep this fun and exciting new avenue in gaming to the town and really pay homage to the sports we see here."

But with more opportunities to gamble comes more risk for people who struggle with addiction.

Rose Gruber is the executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling. She said, "A compulsive gambler will do whatever they can to get money to place that next bet. They're always chasing their losses; they're always chasing their wins."

The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling offers resources like a 24-hour hotline and a database of treatment providers.

Gruber said, "For someone who has those risk factors, who's already gambling, it certainly is something we pay attention to and urge people to be careful."

Ortiz said a lot of people have already been hired behind the scenes. Eventually the sportsbooks will require more than 100 new positions.

Click here for a list of resources offered by the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling.

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