Local officials pushing for Chicago to lift the sports betting ban

It goes without saying, but one of the biggest topics of conversation in recent years has been as to whether or not the sports betting laws are going to be changing across the country. We’ve seen states and major cities change things up. Could Chicago be next? Currently, local officials are pushing for Chicago to lift the sports betting ban, which would really be something.

Remember too that in September of 2020, the Cubs announced a partnership with DraftKings worth $100 million. This of course made countless headlines, as it really opened the door for sportsbooks to not only make their way to Chicago, but also to Wrigley Field. Could you imagine folks being able to place wagers inside of the iconic stadium?

 

“An increasing number of sports fans want to integrate sports betting into their game experience, and we’re excited to be one of the first to engage in developing a retail sportsbook at a professional sports venue,” Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said in a press release shortly after the massive news was announced.

Now, officials in Chicago indeed are looking to see if things can be changed in the near future. This would be big, as not only would it bring sportsbooks to Wrigley Field, but places like Soldier Field, the United Center, and more would be able to take advantage of things and have their respective fans also be able to check out odds in person and make wagers.

Chicago Alderman introduced an ordinance to lift the sports betting ban

In an interesting turn of events, a Chicago Alderman introduced an ordinance to lift the sports betting ban. This of course is a big step in the wheels getting in motion and some changes being made before folks know it. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Alderman Walter Burnett, of the 27th district, indeed introduced this ordinance at a recent city council meeting.

Walter Burnett Jr twitter image
Alderman Walter Burnett Jr.

Per the Sun-Times, Burnett’s plan would allow for sports betting to take place at any of the big sports stadiums, while the door would also be open for permanent buildings to host sports betting within a five-block radius of those different venues. Sports bets would also of course become allowed inside of casinos as well.

“Wrigley and the United Center — they’ve both been talking about setting up a spot for it. So this ordinance needs to be passed in order for that to happen. We’ll see where the Council wants to go with it,” Burnett said at the meeting via the Sun-Times.

“In my community, it’ll bring more people to the United Center. They may spend more money. It helps with the sales tax and also the amusement that these guys pay. So there is some upside. There are more benefits for the state, but there are some auxiliary benefits for the city.”

When could sports betting arrive at Wrigley Field?

The big question a lot of folks have on their mind is when could sports betting arrive at Wrigley Field? The answer to that question really is up in the air, as no set date or timeline has been announced. With that said, the Cubs’ deal with DraftKings will surely speed up the process, as the two sides are hoping to get something done in the near future.

While plenty of officials and politicians aren’t the biggest fans of sports betting becoming prevalent around Chicago, there’s no denying the economic benefits that it would provide the city. What’s interesting here is that the Cubs have discussed the possibility of adding an extension to Wrigley Field, which would open the door for fans to also make bets outside of just game days.

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“DraftKings says this would be their largest sportsbook in the country, with a food and beverage option and betting,” Cubs spokesperson Julian Green said. “In the winter months, you have the Super Bowl. You have March Madness. Having a facility where groups may want to come in and watch the Super Bowl or March Madness — that’s something we could accommodate.”

That of course would be a game-changer, as it would give Chicago bettors not only options to place their bets but it also wouldn’t be limited to when the baseball season is underway. That fact alone would allow for more bets, plus more opportunities for employment and that new addition to Wrigley Field would of course have to be staffed.

Sports betting is legal in Illinois

One thing to keep in mind here, as confusing as it might sound, is that sports betting is legal in Illinois as a whole. It was previously banned in the state, but that all changed in 2019. In March of 2020 too, the first sports bet was made in Illinois, making history. Since then, things have only gone up, with Illinois among the most popular states when it comes to sports gambling.

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Having said that, there are still some hoops that need to be gone through to place those wagers, especially for folks in Chicago. That’s why Alderman Burnett is hopeful that the city can come together and lift its current policy, which would open the door for sportsbooks, like Bovada, to be permitted in person. This would make life a whole lot easier for folks in the Chicago area. Will it get done? We should find out soon.

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Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis Jr. comes from Mississippi where he and his family spend their days discussing college football and basketball. He's written sports journalism for years after studying journalism at a local university.