PlayUSA Rewind: Chicago Bears Enter Bidding War For Arlington Racecourse

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on June 23, 2021 - Last Updated on June 24, 2021

Are you ready for that mid-week dose of gambling news to help guide you into the weekend? I hope so because this week not only deals with sports betting but also, the Chicago Bears.

This week, Churchill Downs received a bid from the Chicago Bears to purchase Arlington Racecourse, more hiccups for Maine sports betting, and another fumble for Ohio sports betting.

For even more coverage, be sure and follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for all the latest insights.

On the rewind:

The Arlington Heights Bears?

Churchill Downs is in the middle of selling the historic Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, IL.

At one point, Churchill had plans to transform the 326-acre plot of land into a racino. But, as with everything in gambling, things change.

One group has other intentions. Perhaps a state-of-the-art football coliseum? The most high-profile group to submit a bid is none other than the Chicago Bears.

While the bid is real, the idea of the Bears moving an hour outside the city has many, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, conflicted.

The takeaway: The Bears’ lease at their current home, Soldier Field, runs through 2033. So, they aren’t moving anytime soon. Many have speculated the team could use this as a negotiation tactic with the city for stadium upgrades. Regardless, I’d like the Bears to play in more Super Bowls than they host.

In-state college betting in New Jersey

We all know the rule, New Jersey sports betting prohibits betting on in-state schools. In fact, only Iowa and Indiana allow betting on their in-state college teams.

But a bill circulating in Trenton will change all that if it makes its way onto the November ballot. The bill will ask voters, “Should the state constitution be amended to permit wagering on all college sports?” Currently, placing a bet on an NJ college team or any athletic events in the state is prohibited.

The regional round of the 2025 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is scheduled to take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. If this law remains in place, betting on any team in this round and at this location will be off the table.

The takeaway: New Jersey can once again be a leader when it comes to sports betting laws. A good chunk of change was left on the table when Rutgers University made the NCAA Tournament in 2021, something the team hadn’t accomplished in over 30-years. Maybe things will change this time around.

More on that Ohio sports betting bill

From our previous reporting, we know an OH sports betting bill is currently making the rounds in Columbus. We know there will be retail sports betting, mobile sports betting, and betting through the state lottery.

But the latest addition to the 252-page bill is a dedicated timeline. Unfortunately, not many people are going to like it.

Ohio lawmakers have decided on Jan. 1, 2022, as the application start date, and April 1, 2022, as the date upon which licenses will be awarded.

The takeaway: To average customers who could care less about tax rates and licensing fees, this is the only news that matters. If lawmakers stick with this timeline, and it appears they will, bettors can say goodbye to betting on the 2021 NFL Season and the upcoming Super Bowl in February. Sorry, Ohio.

Changes for Maine sports betting and fantasy sports

Sports betting in Maine to an unexpected turn last week when the bill’s sponsor spoke out against his own bill.

That’s right, Sen. Louis Luchini called foul on LD1352 after his colleagues included a tethering clause that required mobile wagering operators to partner with brick-and-mortar establishments.

Unfortunately for Luchini, the bill passed by a 23-12 vote and now heads to the House.

Switching gears, the largest independently owned daily fantasy sports operator, PrizePicks, is adding some top talent to its leadership positions.

Mark Irace, Ari Koteles, and Bonnie Adams will be joining the company in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, PrizePicks is working to bring 1,000 new jobs to the state.

The takeaway: For Maine, Luchini’s argument is simple, tethering limits the number of mobile operators that can enter the state. There are 13 physical locations in the state and well over 13 prominent sports betting operators in the US. On the DFS side of things, PrizePicks is establishing itself in markets like California, Georgia, and Texas. Plus, 1,000 new jobs post-pandemic is a big deal.

Bet $5 Get $200 + Up to $1,050 Bonus

Market Teasers

This week’s Market Teasers all have ties to the hometown Chicago Bears. First up, Churchill Downs is selling a historic racecourse that the Bears have bid on. Second, Rush Street Interactive, the in-state sports betting company, announced a mega partnership with the team.

Churchill Downs Incorporated

$CHDN | $200.80 | 1.21% change

  • The announcement that the Chicago Bears are looking into purchasing Arlington Racecourse isn’t going to move the needle too much. However, it does get everyone talking about CHDN — any press is good press.

Rush Street Interactive

$RSI | $12.86 | 0.55% change

  • Sticking with the Chicago Bears, the NFL franchise just announced a multi-year partnership with BetRivers and Rivers Casino. BetRivers will become the team’s official sports betting partner and most certainly will look to build a sportsbook inside Soldier Field if and when that becomes legal.

** Market Teasers is not financial advice, nor am I a financial advisor. All figures were taken on June 22, market close.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press
Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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