The United Center in Chicago is going to be getting an upgrade soon. And it could change the sports betting industry in the state. FanDuel announced earlier this week that it has partnered with the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks in a massive deal.
The Bulls and Blackhawks both play their home games at the United Center and a retail sportsbook will be coming to that iconic venue. Following the announcement of the deal, all four of the major professional sports teams in the state have a sports betting partner.
The Illinois Gaming Board will still have to approve the new sportsbook, and it’s unclear when that might take place. The experts are expecting the IGB to take a lot of time to approve these types of deals, but the United Center is eligible to apply for a master sports betting license.
Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, Wintrust Arena, and Wrigley Field are also able to apply for a master sports betting license based on their capacity size. Wrigley Field has already applied for a license through a partnership with DraftKings. Construction is ready to begin on that project.
The city of Chicago actually had a sports betting ban in place, but that was recently lifted in the month of December. That allowed Wrigley Field and the United Center to officially apply for these licenses, and it should have a massive impact on the retail betting in the Land of Lincoln.
The announcement of a partnership between DraftKings and the Cubs was announced back in September 2020. But no new announcements or action since then. BetMGM just recently opened up a retail sportsbook at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. They are now the first sportsbook at an MLB stadium.
Details of the Sportsbook
According to reports from the announcement, the FanDuel Sportsbook will be to be a two-story venue that is located adjacent to the atrium. The sportsbook will be the biggest draw, but there will also be a lounge with a restaurant.
FanDuel and the United Center are also building up additional space that won’t include any wagering aspects. This section will simply be for watching sporting events in a lounge-type setting.
FanDuel already offers VIP experiences for fans of the Chicago Bulls. FanDuel advertisements are already running during the Bulls and Blackhawks games.
What About the Bears?
The Chicago Bears are the most popular professional team in the state of Illinois, and they have been quiet on the sports betting front. The Bears have named BetRivers the official sports betting partner of the team.
One factor that could be causing a delay in the plans of a retail sportsbook at Soldier Field is the fact that the Bears might be looking to move to a different venue. The Bears signed a purchase agreement to buy Arlington Park Race Course from Churchill Downs, and the team is strongly considering building a new stadium.
If the Chicago Bears start building a new stadium, you can bet on it that a new retail sportsbook is in their plans. BetRivers will continue to be the teams’ main wagering sponsor/operator.