Sports arenas

City Council Gives Green Light for Sports Betting in Chicago’s Pro-Sports Arenas | Chicago News

A rendering of the proposed two-story sports betting lounge at Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue next to Wrigley Field. (Provided)

Chicago sports fans will soon be able to try their luck by purchasing a hot dog and beer on the way back to their seats at five of Chicago’s pro-sports stadiums and arenas.

Chicago’s city council vote on Wednesday went without debate, despite concerns that allowing sports betting in stadiums could slow long-delayed efforts to build a casino in Chicago. Eight aldermen voted against the proposal.

The measure imposes a 2% tax on gross sports betting income in Chicago. This income is already subject to a 15% state tax and a 2% Cook County tax.

Comprehensive press from Cubs, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks owners helped the measure backed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot hit the jackpot despite opposition from Chicago billionaire and Rivers Casino Des Plaines operator Neil Bluhm, whose Rush Street Gaming has submitted two separate bids for the construction of a casino complex in Chicago.

Bluhm said allowing sports betting in Chicago stadiums and arenas could cost a future Chicago casino between $ 10 million and $ 12 million a year.

Allowing Chicago sports teams to set up sports betting parlors would add between $ 400,000 and $ 500,000 to Chicago’s coffers each year, said CFO Jennie Huang Bennett.

A city-commissioned study by Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen found that sports betting parlors would have “no discernible impact on the traditional income of a Chicago casino.”

Wrigley Field, United Center, Wintrust Arena, Soldier Field and Guaranteed Rate Field could each offer up to 15 booths, under the new law.

The casino is expected to generate $ 200 million in revenue per year for the city. These funds are intended for the underfunded Chicago Police and Fire Department pension funds.

In addition to the 2% gross revenue tax, Chicago would charge sites an upfront license fee of $ 50,000 for a sportsbook, as well as $ 25,000 per year to renew that license. Independent companies could apply for licenses to operate sports betting on the sites for $ 10,000, renewable with an annual fee of $ 5,000, according to the proposal.

A permanent casino could open as early as 2025 in Chicago, although slots could start ringing at O’Hare and Midway airports much sooner – with tentative plans for a temporary casino also in play.

Bluhm proposed to build a casino and complex in what is now the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place – formerly known as the East Convention Center Building – or south of the Loop on vacant land along the river. Chicago which is to be redeveloped by Related Midwest as 78.

With his close ties to Chicago’s political and economic leaders, Bluhm has long been viewed as the leader of the high-stakes craps game that will determine the future of Chicago Casino.

Bally plans to build a $ 1.6 billion complex at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street, or the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard on the south side of the convention center, according to a company statement.

A representative for Bally’s said the company has no objections to sports betting operations in Chicago stadiums.

Hard Rock International proposed to build the casino and complex as part of the One Central project, which would build a mixed-use development on the Metra tracks south of Soldier Field.

Chicago officials have refused to allow bars and taverns to offer video poker for years, with many officials saying they don’t want the machines to drain the revenue from a future casino.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]