NFL Season, Bears Optimism to Boost Chicagoland Sports Betting

Happy NFL kickoff eve everybody! Yes, the National Football League gets started tomorrow night with the traditional defending Super Bowl champions hosting a home contest on Thursday night. Then it really begins, in earnest on Sunday, where our local team, the Chicago Bears, are in the prime time evening clash at the Los Angeles Rams. 

NFL season, Bears season, football season, whatever you call it brings a boost to certain cottage industries and ancillary economic sectors. Sports bars, restaurants, alcohol and junk food sales are all about to see a surge, and the same holds true for the gaming industry. 

With a renewed interest in the Bears, due to their selecting Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in this past April’s NFL Draft, online casinos will be busier than ever with handling sports wagers in the Chicagoland area. Additionally, the brick-and-mortars should see a boost too. While Chicagoans now have more options than ever, they can still also cross the border into northwest Indiana for gambling. 

Three years after the Supreme Court allowed state governments, instead of the Federal level, to determine the legality of sports betting, the NFL has now fully embraced gambling as part of the fabric of the sport. And the casinos across the Skyway in Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago and Gary stand to see a nice positive surge in traffic. 

According to the Associated Press, the NFL “was the last of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to partner with sportsbooks even though it commands the most interest and dollars.”

Indeed, it’s common knowledge that the NFL always slaughters everything, no matter what, in the American sporting landscape. And this is a Bears town through and through (although Michael Jordan took it over for a decade), regardless of the team’s record. And much more often than not, the Bears record has been pretty bad. 

But people here, for some bizarre reason, still love them anyway and hope now springs eternal with Fields under center, although head coach Matt Nagy made the bone-headed decision to start Andy Dalton in the season opener. 

You’ve heard the gambling expression “make things interesting,” and that’s exactly what The Shield is doing now, as they’re riding the sports betting wave. It all gets going tomorrow night when a recovering Dak Prescott leads the Dallas Cowboys into Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger, who been involved with the sports betting world for much of his career left ESPN in 2017.

He did so to become fully ingrained in the casino world as he then helped to get the Vegas Stats & Information Network off the ground.

“I guess I am a little bit surprised at how quickly the league’s transition from being completely anti-gambling, at least publicly, to being now complete partners with the entire operation,” he told the AP.

It really is amazing how far things have come and how fast it happened. The league certainly doesn’t find any taboos in sports betting anymore. 

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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