Wisconsin looks to cash in with sports betting

Wisconsin finally noticed the numbers.

That Illinois set a record, of 16 months, in recording its first $5 billion in sports-betting business, breaking New Jersey’s previous standard by two months.

In this calendar year, nine states have written $1 billion worth of legal sports-wagering tickets. Football will push Iowa across that 10-digit goal line.

Since May 2018, when the Supreme Court let states seal their own sports-betting fates, $635 million in tax revenue has been generated in those jurisdictions.

Hundreds of millions. Billions. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers noticed. He surprised many on July 1 by announcing alterations to the state’s gaming compact with the Oneida Nation that allow it to take sports bets.

Its brick-and-mortar operations might write tickets before the Packers’ opener Sept. 12 in New Orleans.

Not long ago, someone close to the Badger State’s political machinery informed me that those officials would “never” inquire about sports-betting possibilities with their tribal casinos.

They wouldn’t jeopardize current revenue streams with their native associates, those politicos believed, should sports betting be a losing proposition. However, they’ve learned about the house’s edge and tax windfalls.

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