Illinois May Allow Sports Betting In Chicago Arenas

Another place to bet.

The state of Illinois may go in all with all sorts of gambling in an effort to create jobs and increase revenues headed to Springfield. Included in the gambling package is a provision to allow sports betting in stadiums and arenas that seat more than 17,000 people. There are four facilities that immediately come to mind that could house a sportsbook, all in Chicago, two baseball stadiums, a football stadium and an arena. That means in game betting could take place when the Cubs or White Sox baseball games are being played. The Bears and the Chicago MLS team could be playing with a sportsbook nearby. The Blackhawks and Bulls may also provide a backdrop for sports betting. Illinois lawmakers voted not to allow betting on the state’s college teams. The irony here is someone from Solider Field, the home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears, can get a sportsbook license and be open during Bears games. The NFL fought New Jersey’s bid to open a sportsbook in 2011 as well as a Delaware attempt at get full blown sports betting program and would eventually lose when the Supreme Court of The United States ruled for New Jersey and opened the floodgates for states to hand out licenses for sportsbooks. Now the NFL along with Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer will have gambling just a matter of steps away from the game.

Illinois will be joining Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Oregon and New Mexico as states with sports gambling. Arkansas is supposed to join that group as well after voters said yes to a sportsbook in that state. Tennessee’s sportsbooks will go online on July 1. The leagues are still looking for a piece of the action as they like gambling.

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast