Illinois Sporting Facilities Examining In-House Sportsbooks

Illinois Sporting Facilities Examining In-House Sportsbooks

Sports stadiums across Illinois are rumored to be looking at putting a sportsbook into their facilities.

Multiple sources told ESPN that the Chicago Cubs specifically are reviewing options available for them, from betting windows to automated kiosks to a full sportsbook. The Cubs are the leading name currently looking at adding sportsbooks into their stadium.

MLB and Sportsbooks

As of right now, the MLB doesn’t let teams have sportsbooks in their stadiums (similarly to the NBA, despite the NBA's acceptance of sportsbooks). Until recently, betting has also been illegal in Illinois, but legislation was passed on June 2 that made sports betting legal finally.

The MLB and NBA are reportedly reviewing the legislation in Illinois and see if any changes to the sportsbook rule should be made. The legislation itself is still waiting to be signed, but is expected to have no problems. In a statement to ESPN, the MLB said:

"We will work with our clubs to explore the opportunities presented by the rapidly evolving sports betting landscape in a socially responsible manner."

The Illinois legislation says that stadiums and sporting facilities with a seating capacity over 17,000 could apply for a sports betting license that would allow a sportsbook to be built either inside or within a 5-block radius of the stadium/arena.

College stadiums would likely not be eligible because the legislation, unfortunately for Big Ten fans, prohibits betting on in-state college teams. That eliminates betting on the Illinois Illini, Northwestern Wildcats, and Northern Illinois Huskies, who’s football stadiums would have been large enough otherwise.

Generally, none of the stadium involved have come forward with any comments, nor have the teams or leagues involved. The Chicago Speedway simply said they’re having discussions about it, saying, "We have not made any decisions and have no definitive plans for sports betting at the speedway."

The Cubs Lead The Way

The Chicago Cubs seem to be leading the silent race to installing sportsbooks within stadiums. There’s nothing solid yet, as a source told ESPN that “pen hasn’t hit paper yet.”

Unnamed sources connected with the team said that the Cubs are taking a long, hard look at the possibility of introducing sports betting to Wrigley Field. Like everyone else, there’s been no public statements from the team saying they’re looking into it.

The Cubs have been publicly supporting sports betting. In March, the team’s president of business operations saying on Chicago 670 The Score that the team was considering a second team broadcast that focused on sports betting .

State Rep. Mike Zalewski, one of the bill’s first sponsors, said he wasn’t surprised that the idea to put sportsbooks in stadiums was raised and implemented.

My sense was the leagues and the teams, and the Cubs specifically, were looking for unorthodox ways to capitalize the ballparks in an age where fans are glued to their phones."

Other things included in the bill is a requirement for sportsbooks in Illinois to use official league data, a sticking point that faced opposition but ultimately made it through. Another was the requirement for in-person registration for sports betting for the first 18 months of operation for an operator.

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