Five stadiums and arenas in North America have retail sportsbooks that are either inside or near their premises, though none are located in Illinois.
That’ll change when a pair of Illinois sportsbooks open either later this year or in 2023, in DraftKings Sportsbook at Wrigley Field and FanDuel Sportsbook at United Center.
There’s also a chance Soldier Field (home of the Chicago Bears) and Wintrust Arena (home of the Chicago Sky) add their own sportsbook facilities in the coming years, though nothing formative has been released by either team or facility.
IllinoisBet.com looked at a variety of factors, including state legalization of sports betting, a team or facility’s sports betting partnerships, the timing of the team’s next season, and that franchise’s value, to determine which facilities could be next in line to receive a retail sportsbook.
Here’s a rundown of that list, and where the stadium sportsbook scene could be headed next in the coming years.
Next Pro Stadium To Add a Sportsbook
Chicago Venues Among Next Wave of Stadium Sportsbooks
A pair of Chicago stadiums in Wrigley Field and United Center topped our list as the next candidates to open a retail sportsbook.
Both facilities have already broken ground on their sportsbook facilities, with the Chicago Cubs celebrating a topping off ceremony in late June, while the Bulls broke ground this spring.
The United Center FanDuel Sportsbook is slated to open its doors this fall, with a two-story facility that includes 13,000-square-feet of space with betting kiosks, windows, and a lounge area.
The Wrigley Field facility, meanwhile, is slated to open in time for the 2023 MLB season, with more than 22,000-square-feet and space for more than 1,000 occupants.
Other stadiums that scored atop our list were Phoenix’s State Farm Stadium (home to the Arizona Cardinals), which is slated to open its BetMGM Sportsbook this fall.
U.S. Cellular Field (home to the Chicago White Sox) was the leading candidate in Illinois not currently under construction on our list, scoring 15 points total.
Chicago made these stadium sports books possible when it lifted its ban on sports wagering in the city in December 2021.
Pro Stadiums With Sportsbooks
What Do In-Stadium Sportsbooks Add to a Stadium or Arena?
As a Phoenix resident, I’ve traveled to the FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center (home of the Phoenix Suns) and the brand-new Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks) facilities.
Both are gleaming spaces where fans can congregate, eat good food and sip on tasty cocktails and other beverages, while also betting on their phones or at one of the venues’ betting kiosks or windows.
For team executives, such as Derrick Hall, who serves as the D-Backs’ president and CEO, the addition of in-stadium sportsbooks adds another reason for fans to come down to the ballpark during the season.
More importantly though, it gives that person a reason to come to the stadium during the offseason, transforming a stadium or arena district into a hotbed of activity even when sports are not occurring.
“For us, Caesars was that brand. So, we’re really excited about this. And this is going to enhance the experience for our fans as well,” Hall said. “Because this is not just a day-of-game destination. It’s going to be a year-round one that fans, and non-fans are going to enjoy.”
The song is much the same for Dan Costello, who serves as the Phoenix Suns’ executive vice president and chief revenue officer.
Costello was the point person during the franchise’s partnership with FanDuel Sportsbook and said the franchise’s decision to partner with the New York-based operator has already paid dividends for both parties.
It’s becoming clearer to professional sports teams that their fans want a place to take in the action and place bets in a sports bar-like setting, and stadium sportsbooks are a key way to do just that.
“[Our partnership with FanDuel] has been beyond our wildest expectations, for so many different metrics and reasons,” Costello said. “But I think probably for us the most important piece is just the engagement that we’re seeing in the game. Our TV ratings have gone up in such a high direction, and not just because the team’s winning.
“We’re seeing better ratings in the earlier parts of our games than we’ve seen in the past, and we’re seeing steady ratings during the entire game.”
What to Expect from In-Stadium Sportsbooks?
For fans that expect to travel to Wrigleyville or downtown Chicago to enjoy either stadium sportsbook, you can expect state-of-the-art, wall-to-wall screens and a stadium-like experience once you enter the facility.
Be sure to arrive well ahead of the start time of whatever game you care about, as the best seats in the house tend to go quickly.
While there’s nothing wrong with posting up on the rail and enjoying your game of choice from a barstool, it’s always a better viewing and betting experience when you can do so from the comfort of an overstuffed lounge seat — trust me.
Another word of advice for first-time sportsbook visitors is to save room for food, as both facilities I’ve visited have featured tasty menu items sure to leave you satisfied, regardless of whether your wager does or not.
For now, sports fans in Illinois can set their sights toward the opening dates for both of the state’s first in-stadium sportsbooks, giving Cubs and Bulls fans reason to rejoice.