If it were up to the city of Chicago, sports betting likely would have been legalized a long time ago. The third biggest city in America had to wait on their state legislators in Illinois to get a new law passed, and it looks like it is finally going to happen. In this article we dive more into Chicago sports betting and what it would mean.
Sports betting is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and there is a ton of money to be made for both the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. A bill was recently passed at the beginning of June, and Governor JB Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law sometime this summer.
Chicago is one of the best sports cities in the country, and there is no doubt that sports betting is going to be a huge hit in the city. There are plenty of reasons to visit the Windy City already, but now you can add legalized sports betting to that list.
Chicago Sports Betting at a Glance
A few weeks ago it appeared that the state of Illinois was going to miss out on the chance to legalize sports betting, leaving the city of Chicago without out. Things changed in a hurry, and the diehard sports fans in Chicago are going to be able to place bets on sports likely before the beloved Chicago Bears take the field this fall. There are some interesting stipulations with this new law, but Chicago sports betting will be a huge hit in the Windy City.
Casinos throughout the state of Illinois will be betting hotspots for downstate residents, but that won’t be the case in Chicago. This new law allows for stadiums with a capacity over 17,000 people to apply for a license, and that will include all of the professional sports franchises in the Windy City. Going to a professional game is going to look and feel a lot different for sports fans in Chicago in the very near future.
There are five professional sports franchises that call the city of Chicago home, and all of them should help to drive sports betting in the city and state. There have been plenty of championship parades in the city of Chicago in recent years, and some of the teams are some of the most storied franchises in all of sports. Chicago fans love their teams, and they will almost certainly enjoy the opportunity to place bets on them.
Status of Sports Betting in Chicago
Illinois, like many states, was looking to increase revenue to help eliminate debt and sports betting seems like a perfect solution. Talks actually began over a year ago in the state capitol of Springfield, but they broke down rather quickly before any real traction was made.
The city of Chicago plays a huge role in the state of Illinois, and the city would have loved to be in control of this situation from the beginning. Sports fans in Chicago had their eye on Springfield again this spring, and this time they got the help they were looking for.
Newly elected Governor JB Pritzker factored in sports betting into his proposed budget, and it seemed like the state was ready to finally make it legal. There was some great debate around the issue in the last few weeks, and a lot of it centered around mobile and online betting.
The state of Illinois previously sued DraftKings and FanDuel for operating within the state in bad faith, and they wanted to do something to limit their influence in Illinois. The legislators decided to pass a bill to legalize sports betting, but they are placing an 18 month freeze period on any online or mobile betting companies.
Not only did the state of Illinois sports betting get some votes of approval, but they also agreed to expand casino operations throughout the state. None of that really mattered to the city of Chicago and the diehard sports fans in the Windy City.
Illinois decided to take care of their most important city, and included a provision that would give the major sports stadiums in Chicago a chance to apply for a sports betting license as well. Governor JB Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law in June 2019, and the Chicago sports betting landscape is set to change for the better.
Where to Bet Sports in Chicago
Casinos are usually the best place to make bets in other states around the country, but that won’t be the case for sports fans in Chicago. Illinois lawmakers knew that they had to do something to benefit the biggest city in their state, and they made sure that the biggest stadiums in the Windy City would be able to take advantage of this new law.
Stadiums with a capacity over 17,000 will be allowed to apply for a license to offer Chicago sports betting within a five-block radius, and you can expect all of the professional sports franchises to do just that.
Soldier Field is home of the Chicago Bears and will likely be the best place to make a bet within the city of Chicago. The National Football League has been closely aligned with sports betting in the last year, and they probably can’t wait to get something set up at Soldier Field.
The stadium is located right along Lake Michigan in Chicago, and there aren’t many good spots to set up betting retailers within a five-block radius. Bears fans should be able to make bets on their team during the upcoming season, but it’s likely to be inside of the stadium.
The United Center
The United Center is a relatively new arena that houses both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls. The Blackhawks and Bulls both routinely sell out the United Center for their home games, and the building itself is set up very well to begin taking bets on sports.
The United Center is also in a bad location for establishing retailers within a five-block radius outside of the stadium, but they have plenty of room inside to get this operation going. Both teams have an extremely passionate fan base, and betting on the teams should heat things up during the cold winter months in Chicago.
Wrigley Field might be one of the oldest stadiums in the country, but the Cubs have made a ton of new renovations to the park in recent years. You can bet that adding sports betting kiosks to the old ballpark will be in the plans as well.
The area around the park is known as “Wrigleyville,” and it is set up perfectly to take advantage of this new law. Wrigleyville is a terrific tourist attraction within the city, and they will soon be visited by sports betting fans. Cubs fans likely won’t have to get inside the actual stadium to find a place to make a bet on their beloved Cubbies.
Guaranteed Rate Field
Even sports fans in Chicago might not know that Guaranteed Rate Field is the name of the ballpark that is home to the White Sox. The ballpark has changed names several times in recent seasons, but will be another hotspot for Chicago sports betting.
Guaranteed Rate Field is located on the Southside of the city, and there is room around the ballpark to set up some sports betting retailers so fans don’t have to actually buy a ticket to make some bets. The White Sox might not be extremely popular throughout the city, but they rule the Southside.
Rivers Casino Des Plaines
While there aren’t any casinos actually in the city limits of Chicago, there are a few options that are close to the city. Rivers Casino in nearby Des Plaines probably the best options for residents of Chicago, and will be one of the casinos that will have a license to take bets on sports.
Not all sports bettors are huge sports fans, and this might be an option for someone that doesn’t want to mess with trying to get to a stadium. Casinos offer a different type of atmosphere as well, and there are several of other betting options available at this casino.
Latest Chicago Betting News
Chicago is set to become the sports betting capital of the Midwest when the new law is passed in the state of Illinois. Several other states in the Midwest have recently passed laws to legalize sports betting as well, including Indiana and Iowa.
The problem for these other states is that they don’t have the teams to drive betting like Chicago has, and fans will be flocking to the Windy City to place bets on some of the best franchises in all of sports. Even though increasing revenue and adding jobs in Chicago seems like a great thing, it could also lead to more crime in an already dangerous city.
With the expansion of casino gambling being included in this new bill, Chicago is set to get their own “casino” in the very near future. Bids will be accepted for the new Chicagoland casino, and the hope is that construction will begin in the very near future.
A site has also yet to be decided, but McCormick Place is widely considered as one of the better options. O’Hare Airport and Midway Airport are both expected to have betting kiosks set up on-site, in hopes of making money off of people traveling to and from the city. 33 percent of the revenue from the new Chicagoland casino will be given right back to the city.
FanDuel is looking into establishing an office in the city of Chicago now that Illinois has legalized sports betting. Even though the company will not be able to begin operation within the city for at least 18 months, they are wanting to establish a headquarters in the biggest city in the Midwest.
FanDuel has announced that at least 300 new jobs will be added in Chicago if they bring an office to the city in hopes of trying to get back on the good side of Illinois lawmakers. The state of Illinois previously sued FanDuel and DraftKings for operating in the state without the proper licenses.
Sports Teams That Drive Betting
It is hard to pick which sports team is the most popular in the city of Chicago, with all of them having such terrific fanbases. Chicago is one of the best sports cities in America, and a lot of their teams have had a ton of success of late.
Each of the four major professional sports is represented in the Windy City, and there are a pair of Major League Baseball teams. There is no shortage of teams to help lead the efforts towards Chicago sports betting.
The Chicago Bulls are not the same dominant NBA team as they once were, but don’t tell that to their diehard fans who are scattered throughout Chicago. The Bulls are still a tough ticket to get in town, and there will be plenty of action in and around the United Center when the Bulls take the court this fall.
The Chicago Bears will be celebrating their 100th anniversary this season, and fans will be able to bet on the games. The Bears are one of the most storied franchises in the National Football League, and they have a massive following in the city of Chicago. The NFL is not afraid to get involved with sports betting, and they will love the thought of having Chicago fans being able to bet on the Bears.
The Northside of Chicago belongs to the Cubs while the Southside belongs to the White Sox. There is a bitter rivalry within the city between these two clubs, but the Cubs are a much more popular team throughout the country. Both teams will help drive Chicago sports betting, although betting on baseball has always been a touchy subject.
The Chicago Blackhawks were a forgotten team about 15 years ago, but they have emerged as one of the most popular teams in the city. The Blackhawks won three NHL Stanley Cup Championships this decade, and a pair of future Hall of Famers leading the way. Chicago loves their hockey, and betting on the sport should go over extremely well.
University of Illinois-Chicago and Northwestern University are the two biggest colleges that are located in or around the city. Neither of these teams have a great sports history, and betting on these teams isn’t legal yet anyways. These two teams do have decent followings throughout the city, but professional sports are more popular.
The Chicago Fire is a Major League Soccer team that calls the Windy City home, and they could also play a role in Chicago sports betting. Betting on soccer matches is one of the more popular bets in the country, and the Fire could play a huge role in bringing in added revenue to the city and state.
There are cities all throughout the country that would love to have the teams and success that Chicago has. The Windy City is built around their professional sports teams, and they have all had periods of success in recent seasons. Betting on sports in Chicago is going to go over well with so many great teams playing all year round.
Legal Status of Chicago Sports Betting
There are currently 16 casinos in operation throughout the state of Illinois, although none of them are in Chicago. This new law allows for the expansion of casinos, and there is a potential for a new casino to pop up in the city.
Chicago sports betting will be legal in both the city and state of Illinois as soon as Governor Pritzker signs the bill into law. Online and mobile betting will have to wait at least 18 months before launching in the state.
Horse Racing and Off-Track Betting is currently legal in Illinois as long as the proper licenses are in place. This is another area that should expand when this new law is signed.
Live poker games are legal in the casinos throughout the state, but online poker is still not allowed. Since there are no casinos within the city limits of Chicago, poker currently isn’t a viable option.
Illinois has taken a very clear stand against DFS sites like FanDuel and DraftKings, and they aren’t willing to give in. Chicago based companies cannot legally accept DFS bets for at least 18 months after the law is passed.
The Illinois lottery is alive and well, and is a huge revenue generator for the state. Lottery is taxed at an extremely high rate, but residents in Chicago do have the ability to purchase lotto tickets if they are of legal age.
Chicago Sports Betting Timeline
- June 3, 2019: Illinois Senate passes Sports Betting Law
- June 2, 2019: Illinois House passes Sports Betting Law
- May 31, 2019: Illinois legislature extends deadline to vote on sports betting law
- May 8, 2019: New wording is added to a bill to expand casino operations
- March 2018: Initial bill introduced to legalize Illinois and Chicago sports betting.