Sports betting is now legal in the Prairie State, which means those living nearby or visiting Chicago can bet on their favorite teams at online sportsbooks in Illinois.
There are already several retail sportsbooks in the Chicagoland area but not within the city. However, that will hopefully change with the introduction of an ordinance that will lift the ban on retail sports betting within Chicago.
In the future, we could be betting on sports at Wrigley Field and United Center stadiums. Let’s take a look at the current options for sports betting surrounding the Windy City.
Home of BetRivers online sportsbook, Rivers Casino took the first legal sports wager in Illinois in June 2020.
Located in Des Plaines, Rivers Casino is less than 20 miles from downtown Chicago. And it’s less than a 10-minute drive from O’Hare Airport.
The sportsbook features stadium seating, a 26-seat bar and an LED display covering an entire wall. Monitors with spreads and totals line the room. There is also an open-air patio for those who’d prefer to remain outdoors.
Hawthorne Racecourse opened its sportsbook in partnership with PointsBet at the end of September 2020.
The sportsbook includes a “bet-and-go” lobby along with 20 self-service kiosks. There are also more than 60 HD TVs and a three-person betting concierge counter. Players can also reserve seating in an exclusive VIP lounge.
Hawthorne has the closest retail sportsbook to downtown Chicago. It’s about 10 miles from the heart of the city.
Located in Elgin, the Grand Victoria Casino is about a 50-minute drive from downtown Chicago. It is northwest of the Windy City.
Caesars Sportsbook currently operates the online sportsbook at the casino, which has been open since August 2020.
The sportsbook is close to the main casino floor and features three full-service ticket windows, high-top tables and multiple HD TVs.
It is adjacent to the table games and slot machines in the casino.
Hollywood Casino Aurora is about a 45-minute drive from downtown Chicago.
Its Barstool Sportsbook features 10 sports wagering kiosks, teller windows and several HD TVs. It also has a Jumbotron. The sportsbook is at the center stage of the casino.
Hollywood Casino Joliet is slightly under an hour drive from downtown Chicago and is the sister casino of Hollywood Aurora.
The Joliet location features more than 40 HD TVs and has five sports betting terminals. You can find the sportsbook inside of the 99 Hops House at the casino.
There are also 14 sports betting kiosks.
DraftKings will operate a retail sportsbook at Wrigley Field, though its exact location (in-stadium or at Gallagher Way) is yet to be determined.
The Cubs are the first Illinois professional team to partner with an operator to provide on-site sports betting. Matt Kalish, the co-founder and president of DraftKings, said:
“We want to build the biggest retail sportsbook in the country right in the heart of Wrigley, with an unrivaled experience, food and beverage and the ability of a fan to go there pregame, make bets, go to the game and sweat and come back and cash their tickets on the way out.”
DraftKings and the Cubs are reportedly targeting the end of 2022 for launch; however, there are several hurdles to jump before that happens.
The Cubs aren’t the only Chicago professional sports franchise to partner with a sportsbook operator.
In late September 2020, the Bears came to an agreement with PointsBet. PointsBet will serve as the first official betting sponsor in team history.
Unlike the Cubs-DraftKings deal, however, there are no plans to offer a retail sportsbook at Soldier Field.
PointsBet has access to Bears IP, marks and logos. Bears legend Devin Hester is the company pitchman in Illinois, and PointsBet has offered the best Bears promotions of any sportsbook in the state in 2020.
As of now, the Chicago Bulls, White Sox, Blackhawks, Sky, Fire and Red Stars do not have an official sports betting partner.
We can’t talk about the history of sports betting in Chicago without mentioning the Black Sox scandal.
In 1919, eight White Sox players were bribed into throwing the World Series, a lynchpin event that influenced sports betting policy for decades.
The next year was the year of the Wrigley Field raid. On May 24, 1920, police arrested 47 spectators during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Undercover officers caught people “exchanging opinions and money, some writing down bets they had made,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Nearly 100 years later, sports betting finally became legal in Illinois.
Yes, there are currently six online sportsbooks in the state: Barstool, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, PointsBet and William Hill.
You must be at least 21 years old to bet in Chicago.
Eventually, yes. There will be a sportsbook at Wrigley Field, and there are plans to develop a casino in downtown Chicago. That’s likely pretty far down the road, but we’d expect a downtown Chicago casino to offer sports betting.
Yes, but you can’t bet on teams located in the state such as Illinois, Northwestern or DePaul. That’s the way the Illinois Gambling Act was written in 2019.