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Madison Poker Room To Close Next Month

Eight-Table Electronic Card Room Was Contested By State


A controversial poker room in Madison, Wisconsin will close next month.

According to, Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison indicated that it will close its eight-table electronic poker room on Nov. 15.

The poker room has been open for four years.

Electronic poker tables do not involve physical cards, chips or dealers. A touch-screen system is used to facilitate the game.

According to the report, Wisconsin has been trying to shut the room down, saying that
it violated a gaming compact between the tribe and the state.

From the report:

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb agreed in June and ordered the room’s removal, but the tribe appealed a month later…The [closure] announcement comes two months after two local players asked a Dane County judge to rule whether poker is actually legal in Wisconsin. The state currently forbids playing poker for money outside of about a dozen tribal-run casinos. But the players argue the game relies more on skill than luck and therefore skirts a state statute about what constitutes a “bet.”

Crabb concurred with the state’s Department of Justice’s assertion that PokerPro, the video poker game, was a Class III card game, which is forbidden under the terms of the gambling compact with the Southeast Side casino. While the state claimed that PokerPro was too similar to blackjack and slots, the tribe argued it was legal because the players wager against each other, not against the house.

The largest poker room in the state is a 20-table room at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.



almost 8 years ago

Arguing that poker is a game of skill is a red herring in all these litigations. The state statute will always control and forbid the poker game.