Chicago Finally Lifts Ban on Sports Betting in City’s Stadiums

by Jenny Tang - Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 9:52

Wrigley Field Chicago
Sports betting will now be allowed at Wrigley Field

Chicago’s City Council has approved the lifting of a ban on sports betting in the city’s five major sports venues. This now means that Chicago’s professional sports teams and organizations can open sportsbooks in or near their stadiums.

Sports betting in Illinois has been legal since June 2019, when Gov. JB Pritzker signed the sports betting bill SB0690. The industry’s newly licensed operators then accepted their first legal wagers in March of 2020.

However, those who opposed the bill felt that any sports betting licenses issued in Chicago would cut into the profits of the casino that is planned for construction in the city in the near future. As a result, City Council lawmakers imposed a city-wide ban on sports betting.

Since the ban was enacted, sports betting proponents have worked hard to convince city chiefs that the revenue from legal sports betting could have a positive impact on the city. Just last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot attempted to lift the ban but was held up in a City Council committee. Since then, discussions have found some middle ground and a vote in the Zoning and License committee passed the move by 19-7.

Sports teams and organizations can now open sportsbooks at or within five blocks of their stadiums. These include:

  • Wrigley Field
  • Soldier Field
  • United Center
  • Wintrust Arena
  • Guaranteed Rate Field

There will be a limit of 15 betting windows with all transactions taxed. Operators will need to pay 15% in state taxes and 2% in taxes to Cook County as well as 2% of all gross revenue.

Analysts have estimated that annual revenue in the city could reach $20-$25 million netting Chicago taxes of $400,000-$500,000.

Jenny Tang

Global iGaming Correspondent based in NYC.