The sports betting industry continues its manifest destiny across America, and Illinois became the latest state to approve measures that will lead to legalized sports betting. Wrinkles include a new ‘mega’ casino in Chicago, online gambling via the platforms of existing casinos for the first 18 months before it gets opened up to other operators, and the potential for the pro sports venues in the state to offer betting.
Joe Ostrowski, a host for 670 the Score who has been doing an exemplary job covering the nuts and bolts of the legislation, notes what venues will be eligible to become sportsbooks:
The idea of betting windows at pro sports venues is a novel one in America, but it’s been going on at English soccer stadiums for awhile. It will be interesting in a sense to observe whether these venues offer anything amounting to close to competitive lines and VIGs (the % cut the book takes).
If they don’t, they’ll still probably be successful because there will be thousands of fans who are really just betting for recreation and do not know any better. From that standpoint, it’ll be fish in a barrel. However, if their odds don’t correspond with some of the ones people will find on their phones from other operators in the state, it’s going to look weird for them. In any event, it will be fascinating to see how this all materializes.
The biggest question I have here is whether these venues will be allowed to open up sportsbooks when games are not going on. Like, could we go to a lounge in Wrigley for an NFL Sunday and bet games all day? That would be a lot more interesting for me than the ability to slap a first 5 under bet on a Cubs game day.
Beyond the sporting venues, I am FASCINATED to see where they put the new casino in Chicago and how long it will take to open. There isn’t exactly a ton of acreage just lying around for them to come in and build on, so wherever it goes is inevitably going to displace a given amount of residents and businesses. Beyond that, the NIMBY element where non-displaced residents fight tooth and nail to avoid the extra congestion that will accompany the development will also get contentious.