FanDuel Sportsbook and the United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, announced plans to open a two-story sportsbook at the arena on Monday.
FanDuel is a prominent advertiser at Bulls and Blackhawks games. So with Illinois law allowing sportsbooks at stadiums, this seemed to be a logical partnership. It’s official now.
Howard Pizer, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Center, said in a statement:
“As an industry leader in sports betting with a large and loyal existing customer base, FanDuel has a proven track record of innovation and excellence making them the perfect partner in developing the sportsbook at the United Center. It is designed to give sports fans a brand new, fully immersive sportsbook lounge experience unlike any other.”
Previously, the city of Chicago had a sports betting ban in place despite the new state law. However, the City Council lifted the ban near the end of 2021.
That means sports betting at stadiums is a go, and we should see more of these partnerships. DraftKings and the Chicago Cubs already have plans to build a sportsbook at Wrigley Field.
Amy Howe, Chief Executive Officer of FanDuel Group, said:
“Chicago sports fans are some of the most loyal and passionate in the world and plans for our sportsbook lounge inside the United Center reflect their excitement. Our team has a track record of delivering incredible retail locations for fans, and we can’t wait to make this sportsbook lounge the premier destination for Chicago sports fans and a place where they can fully experience the FanDuel brand.”
The book will be located adjacent to the United Center atrium.
Next steps for FanDuel Sportsbook at United Center
While the plans are official, FanDuel and the United Center still need to apply to offer sports betting with the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).
IGB approval tends to take a while. With that said, because this policy has yet to be implemented, we don’t know how long approval will take in this specific case.
It’s worth noting that DraftKings and the Cubs plan to open their sportsbook in time for the 2023 baseball season. If FanDuel and the United Center are a bit behind that timeline, the 2023-24 basketball/hockey season would make sense.
Could FanDuel open multiple stadium sportsbooks in Chicago?
An interesting nugget: the Bulls and White Sox share the same owner, Jerry Reinsdorf.
And during the 2021 baseball season, FanDuel ads were all over Guaranteed Rate Field. It’s not hard to envision a FanDuel/White Sox partnership too.
With that said, there are plenty of variables in play. With in-person registration going away by March 5, more sportsbooks will join the Illinois market (such as BetMGM). So the White Sox will have plenty of potential partners to choose from.
BetRivers Illinois is the official betting partner of the Chicago Bears, so a BetRivers Sportsbook at Soldier Field would seem logical. However, the Bears want to leave Soldier Field for Arlington Park, so it would probably make sense to hold off on a retail sportsbook in the near future.
FanDuel is the market leader in Illinois by revenue. In partnering with the United Center, where fans will be able to bet on the Bulls and Blackhawks 41 times per year apiece excluding the playoffs, it is solidifying its footprint in one of the biggest sports betting markets in the US.