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Chicago City Council Removes Sports Betting Ban

With sports betting becoming legal in over 30 different states in the US it has honestly been quite surprising that Chicago has taken so long to follow suit. However, that time has now finally come as of Wednesday this week where the ban on sports betting was lifted.

Bluhm will no doubt be happy to see the introduction of online casinos in the state to try and stave off his clearly significant concerns about the effect of sports betting in Chicago right now.

A sports fully packed sports stadium

There have been proposals and stalks for allowing legal sports betting in the state in the past but none quite as hotly contested as this was. After much debate and staunch support and opposition, sports betting will now find another home in the Windy City.

With the City Council of Chicago lifting the ban for sports betting, there were still some finer points to discuss before this could all take off in earnest. Firstly, the Council decided on a 2% tax rate for any and all sports betting in the state which brings the total in-city tax rate on sports betting to 19%. As far as brick and mortar establishments go, they will only be allowed to operate within 5-blocks of major sporting venues in the city. These venues include: Wintrust Arena, United Center, Guaranteed Rate Field, Wrigley Field and Soldier Field.

The process for lifting the ban on sports betting in Chicago hardly went through without a hiccup. There was strong opposition from important players in Chicago to the idea but ultimately, there was enough support to push through the change even if it wasn’t unanimous. With sports betting now legalized in Chicago, and online sports betting being legal in the state of Illinois, all sports betting lovers in the state and city can enjoy watching their favorite teams with a  little more action.

What is happening on the casino front?

Well, the implementation of legal sports betting in the city may have a significantly negative effect on casino gaming. According to Rush Street Gaming’s Neil Bluhm, where people in the city would otherwise be walking around and playing slots, they will now likely be betting on sports instead. He pulled out figures that showed for every $1 being spent/lost on sports betting, that is $3 to $4 not being spent on the slots in the city. Bluhm is no doubt worried about the additional competition as the casinos already have to pay a hefty tax rate of 40%. This in addition to the sports betting industry in Chicago will likely put strain on their overall yearly revenue.

Now we aren’t quite sure if these are just the ramblings of a man whose business is now going to have to do a little more to compete for business in the city or if these numbers actually make sense. While there will certainly be knock on effects with the lifting of the sports betting ban, whether this will derail the casino gaming industry in the city completely is another story entirely.

One thing that will no doubt revamp the casino industry in Illinois and in Chicago would be the introduction of online casinos. However, this still remains illegal in the state and does not appear to have anything in the pipeline to change that. There was nothing addressed on the matter in the recent City Council meeting.

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