United Center FanDuel Lounge Opens, But Betting Still Needs Approval
The Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks recently started their seasons, but there’s another group that will also call the United Center home for years to come.
A new Illinois sports betting space recently opened in the United Center Atrium, located on the south side of the arena. The FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge is open to all guests during events hosted by the UC.
Only one other betting lounge is confirmed to be coming to a Chicago sports venue, and that’s a DraftKings Sportsbook at Wrigley Field (above).
The FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge is the first sports betting-affiliated lounge to open in the United Center and the first at a professional sports venue in Chicago. Though, other sports arenas across the country are already home to sportsbooks.
Here’s what Kevin O’Brien, director of food and beverage services at the UC, had to say about the grand opening:
“We see it as really just a premier sports viewing destination, particularly because of the amenities FanDuel has added and the comfort of the facility.”
“We’ve been open already for about six nights for preseason and for some concerts. The atmosphere is electric.”
The FanDuel Lounge will have plenty of guests to welcome as the United Center is one of the largest indoor sports venues in the United States. For Bulls games, it holds 20,917 fans which is the most in the NBA. For Blackhawks games, it ranks third with a capacity of 19,717 fans.
FanDuel Lounge offers everything but betting
FanDuel has an active application to allow sports betting at the United Center location. The Illinois Gaming Board is currently reviewing its proposal but there’s no timeline for when wagering will be allowed.
Even without betting options, The FanDuel Lounge has plenty to offer. It’s 1,300-square-feet and filled with LED screens broadcasting all the biggest games each night.
It also offers a unique food menu compared to what you’ll find in the concourse of the United Center. Popular items sold in the FanDuel Lounge include:
- Smoked gouda bacon dip
- Wagyu hot dogs
- Homemade pizza
- Spicy pork nachos
It also mixes some enticing drink options. The cocktail menu includes spicy margaritas, espresso martinis and craft cocktails. O’Brien said the high-end dining options are designed to be “approachable yet elevated sports bar food.”
What other Chicago stadiums are getting sportsbooks?
The 22,000-square-foot DraftKings lounge will be connected to Wrigley Field on the corner of Addison St and Sheffield Ave. It promises to have a modern look while blending with the old-school feel of Wrigley Field. The sportsbook will open in 2023.
Other Chicago sports venues have not announced plans, yet, to open sportsbooks.
The White Sox are partnered with Caesars Sportsbook, so that would make for a natural partnership for a future betting lounge.
As for the Bears, the possibility remains for the Monsters of the Midway to move to Arlington Heights. The Bears have a partnership with BetRivers Sportsbook. So it’s only a matter of time before either Soldier Field or a future Arlington Heights stadium houses a sportsbook.