The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago Sports Betting Bonanza

Nov 22, 2021

Powerful owners of Chicago professional sports teams and politicians are pushing to launch sports betting in the city and challenge Las Vegas for the title of “Gambling Capital of the World.”

The meteoric rise of sports betting is the direct result of a 2018 Supreme Court decision that ended federal sports betting prohibitions. Previously, sports betting was restricted to Nevada. Now it’s legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia. A horde of profit-hungry hucksters jumped into action, scurrying frantically for a piece of action—a national jackpot expected to exceed 81 billion dollars a year.

Sports betting was introduced in Illinois as part of a massive gambling bill signed into law by Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019. Since the law passed, more than 4.6 billion dollars has been wagered, and all ten of the state’s casinos have launched “sportsbooks,” a section dedicated to sports betting. Fan Dual and Draft Kings are the two most prominent sportsbook brands.

Currently, sports betting in Chicago is banned, but passage of a new law in the City Council would change that. The city’s professional sports teams are already counting on it, greasing the wheels of government one way or another.

Passing the law would allow owners of large sports arenas like Wrigley Field and the United Center to establish sports betting parlors within or near their arenas. They want to entice as many fans as possible to gamble at losing odds, bringing owners many millions in new revenue.

The Chicago Cubs have already forged a 100-million-dollar partnership with Draft Kings which would give Wrigley Field the first stadium sports betting parlor in Major League Baseball, which would allow game-goers to gamble before, during and after the game.

Steadily declining economic conditions and the general malaise of the quarantine lifestyle under the COVID pandemic make gambling even more enticing to those targeted and most vulnerable to addiction: male workers from late teens to 35. Smartphone apps enable easy access to on-line betting parlors and sites 24–7.

The gambling industry has been a scourge on the population. Experts generally estimate that 2 to 5% of the population deal with gambling disorder, which would be about 635,000 people across Illinois.

What little discretionary income families have is disappearing at even faster rates, while addiction consumes families, jobs, homes, marriages, you name it. Online gambling—one more way to rob a population on the edge.