Home > Rush Street to Oppose Competing Chicago Stadium Sportsbooks
News Sports Betting

Rush Street to Oppose Competing Chicago Stadium Sportsbooks

Sports betting has been legal for over a year in Illinois, but there is still opposition even before the first-ever retail wager has been placed. On Monday, the CEO of Rush Street Gaming, Neil Bluhm, said that he is opposed to the bill that would lift the “home-rule ban” on sports betting. He made it clear that he does not welcome the idea of another sportsbook in Chicago.

Why Bluhm is against Sportsbooks operating in Chicago

The proposed Chicago Ordinance would allow retail sportsbooks to set up a location in its five stadiums or close to a venue. The city Rules Committee had an informational meeting on Alderman Walter Burnett and Brian Hopkins’ proposal, which he filed back in July.

The meeting happened approximately a week later after the city accepted five bids for casino licenses for the downtown Chicago location. Rush Street secured two of the bids for the Lakeside Center and South Loop, which is another potential site the company can use. All of the companies involved hope to be the one that gets chosen to open a casino in the third-largest city in the United States.

As he stated in the meeting, billionaire Neil Bluhm has an ownership stake in both the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox. If that is the case, he is involved in both sides of the ordinance, and he believes there would be consequences no matter what side he supported.

Bluhm already assembled a team of blue-ribbon lobbyists in an effort to convince the Chicago City Council not to lift the ban on sports betting in Chicago. He believes that lifting the ban would create significant competition that would have a “negative material impact” on both the casinos and the city.

He firmly believes that sportsbooks will hurt the potential of getting numerous streams of revenue that will be coming in once the casino projects are completed and operating. Sportsbooks in the city would attract its consumer base, costing a casino up to $61 million per year.

The city would lose the opportunity of getting $12 million annually from state taxes, and the state would miss out on $9 million. Bluhm stated:

The bottom line is that less people will come to the Chicago casino when they can bet on sports at the stadiums, particularly at these really good, close locations,…That means less sports bettors will walk around the casino and play slots and table games and less people go to the restaurants at the casino if they can also be betting sports at the same time at the stadium

The obstacles sportsbooks are dealing with

Under the Illinois sports betting law, teams in the state can run both retail and mobile sports betting within five blocks from a specific venue for a $10 million license fee. However, the operation cannot happen in Chicago until the City Council passes an ordinance to approve it.

One sportsbook giant, DraftKings, is trying to take advantage of the opportunity as the operator has a deal in place with the Chicago Cubs to set up a retail location in Wrigley Field. Rush Street’s BetRivers brand has yet to announce what its next venture in the state is.

Bluhm’s statement hasn’t garnered much support from other states in the sports betting industry as New Jersey disapproved of his claims as the state surpassed a billion-dollar sports betting handle in September. Rush Street heavily supports in-person wagering and its in-person signup provision. However, the in-person provision is supposedly coming to an end by March 2022.

Subscribe for sports betting offers, promos and news

Related stories

Future Odds to win Super Bowl

Tyler Vaysman

Bookit Sports CEO: “We want to simplify the methods of sports betting”

US Betting Report

Coronavirus Shuts Down All American Sports

Ryan Knuppel

What are Vegas Odds?

US Betting Report

Sports Betting Moves Closer In Oklahoma

Ryan Knuppel

PointsBet and NFL Agree to Partnership

Tyler Vaysman