Potawatomi Launches Sports Gaming at Valley Casino

Mayor Johnson cast the sportsbook’s first bet – $20 on the Bucks winning the NBA title.

Sports gaming has arrived in Milwaukee.

Potawatomi Casino Hotel opened its first sports betting operation on Friday morning with 20 self-service kiosks, open 24 hours per day, for players to place bets.

The kiosks are in two separate areas of the sprawling casino property.

The lounge area of the Potawatomi Casino Hotel sportsbook. Photo by Rich Rovito

One set is located in the temporary sportsbook location in the former Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill, which now features 30 high-definition televisions tuned into the day’s biggest sporting events, a full bar and a new menu.

The second set of kiosks is located on the property’s second level off the skywalk.

Both locations provide odds boards. Potawatomi is offering 20-minute designated parking in the structure for those placing bets. All bets must be placed on site.

“We’ve been looking forward to this day since I got here,” Potawatomi Casinos and Hotels’ CEO Dominic Ortiz said. “All of the surrounding states have brought sports betting and we wanted to be a part of that for all of our guests. We couldn’t be more excited to bring this to the city and the entire region.”




We want to see your best work. Architects, interior designers, renovation experts and landscapers: Enter your residential projects in Milwaukee Magazine’s new design competition. 

The goal was to have the temporary sportsbook operation up and running by the start of the Major League Baseball season, which got underway on Thursday, and prior to the Milwaukee Bucks’ playoff games, Ortiz said.

Potawatomi’s first sportsbook operation is being led by Justin Arnett, who has 14 years of experience in the sports betting industry. Arnett previously worked at several popular Las Vegas properties, including the M Resort, Venetian-Palazzo and The Cosmopolitan. He has successfully opened three other new sportsbooks simultaneously and has spent time in both the digital operations and risk management side of sports betting.

Betting odds are displayed on a screen in the Potawatomi Casino Hotel sportsbook on Friday. Photo by Rich Rovito

Construction on the permanent sportsbook, located in the former Northern Lights Theater, is expected to begin soon. The 500-seat Northern Lights Theater closed in January after 23 years in operation.

The build-out of the permanent sportsbook comes amidst Potawatomi Casino Hotel’s $100 million renovation to its second level, which is expected to be completed in phases this summer and fall.

“In this city, we’ve got a ton of excellent entertainment options. We’ve got competitive sports, performing arts and outdoor recreation,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “Today, there’s a new addition to the entertainment scene. It’s a big thing. The sportsbook is an addition that I know will be popular, offering another reason to visit the Menomonee Valley.”

The mayor had the honor of placing the first bet at the sportsbook, putting $20 on the Bucks to win the NBA championship – with a $70 payday if they hoist another banner in Fiserv Forum.

“I’m realistic and I’m no expert on sports betting, but I’ve got confidence,” Johnson said. “I’ve got confidence in Milwaukee. I’ve got confidence on our home team. I’ve got confidence in the Milwaukee Bucks and so I’m going to place my first bet and it’s going to be for our Milwaukee Bucks.”




Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.