Chicago ban on sports betting could go away

With the legalization of sports betting in Illinois, that doesn’t mean everyone is able to get in on the fun. That’s because the in-person ban remains in Chicago, with the major city sticking to its guns and not changing course. However, that very well could change in the near future, as casinos continue to make bids to put their roots down in Chicago. Yup, the Chicago ban on sports betting could go away.

If this were to happen, it’d only make sense for sportsbooks to make their way to the Windy City. Imagine if sports betting were to arrive to Chicago along with these casinos? It’d really change the landscape of betting as a whole for Illinois. While there are casinos outside of Chicago within driving distance, having it close to downtown would be a major tourism attraction. This is something the major fully understands.

Indeed, mayor Lori Lightfoot even went on to extend the deadline for casinos to get bids in for Chicago. This shows us all just how serious she and the others in office are about bringing change to Chicago. Yes, there are some folks opposed to a casino and sports betting in Chicago, but it’s looking like we could see things go down in the coming years. It will provide a major economic boost for the city.

“This historic casino project stands to expand the economic vibrancy and strength of our city by bringing sustainable, good-paying jobs to residents from underrepresented backgrounds and creating a world-class casino-resort that attracts visitors from all over,” Lightfoot said. “Extending the deadline for bidders will allow the City to collect as many robust, impactful and transformative proposals as possible.”

The wheels are already in motion for Chicago sports betting

While folks wait for the casino plans to go through, the wheels are already in motion for Chicago sports betting in person to go through. That’s because it was recently announced too that DraftKings and the Chicago Cubs teamed up for an unprecedented $100 million partnership. With this, a sportsbook would make its way to Wrigley Field. Not just for the MLB season, though, but for year-wide sports betting.

In order for this to happen, however, Chicago would have to change its current laws and allow for the in-person sports betting to get done. Right now, people in Chicago can take advantage of the state’s laws as a whole by making bets online or through different apps. However, there’s no place in Chicago where you can go check out the odds and make a bet in person. DraftKings and the Cubs are hoping that changes.

On top of that, the thought of a sportsbook being placed at the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls, is also being discussed. When people check out these games in person, they’re of course going to be intrigued in placing a wager. That experience only makes the game more fun. At the same time, the sportsbooks would also be open in the offseason for those teams. That’s going to be huge.

“Wrigley Field and the United Center have both been talking about setting up a spot for it so this ordinance needs to be passed in order for that to happen,” Alderman Walter Burnett said recently. “In my community, it’ll bring more people to the United Center and they may spend more money. It helps with the sales tax and also the amusement that these guys pay so there is some upside.”

Casino Bidders are getting ready to present to Chicago

With all of this said, casino bidders are getting ready to present to Chicago in the near future. For Lightfoot and Co. this will be a massive decision on the way. It of course won’t be easy, but the pressure is on for them to find the right fit that will make the good people of Chicago the happiest. They’re not going to want to rush this decision either, as it will be a historic one for the state as well.

The bidders will need to follow some requirements, though. As part of the plans, the casino-resort must have at least 500 rooms, have restaurants and shopping areas, while also providing massive meeting spaces and outdoor areas as well. This isn’t going to be some small venue that will be built in Chicago. No, this will be a spot that draws people from all over the world to the Windy City.

This is why Lightfoot extended the original deadline. She wanted to make sure the best of the best were ready to bring their best ideas forward. Everyone is anticipating several big-time players to get their ideas in and make their voices heard. With the idea of sports betting coming to Chicago in person too, this will surely be a strong part of people’s pitches.

Illinois has really changed as a whole in terms of betting and casinos in recent years. If sports betting made its way to the huge city, then Chicago would see so many different benefits from it. With the way sports betting is changing across the country too, it’d be wise for Chicago to change course and hop on board. We’ll see what Lightfoot and the rest of the office manages to get done in this case.

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.