Chicago Area Sports Betting Scene: Day 1
We flew into O'Hare with a plan. Day 1: Go to an Indiana sportsbook, bet, and watch the Colts Thursday Night game. Did just that with no issues. Now if only we were better at picking winners!
Phoenix Sky Harbor to O'Hare to the CTA Blue Line to the hotel. PIECE OF CAKE! We used the BETMAPS website to find the nearest sportsbook, which was The Book at Horseshoe Hammond. Also a PIECE OF CAKE! From betmaps.com we were able to get the address, directions, view pictures, read a description, verify hours, read reviews, check their latest Facebook post, and click through to their website. We were also able to identify their oddsmaker (Caesars) which let us Google lines/spreads ahead of time. Which reminds us, BETMAPS will be adding live lines/spreads, aligned with oddsmakers in the near future.
And We're Off
Rolled up to Horseshoe Hammond around 6:40pm. Plenty of time to get my bet in. The sportsbook, "The Book", is towards the back of the casino. I walk up to maybe 12 big screen TVs, stadium seating with grey leather recliners, a VIP section with couches, and a small bar to the left. It's getting close to game time, and a line is beginning to form at "The Book". The Colts are playing, but I quickly realize the public money is on the Texans. These patrons are mainly from Chicago, so I guess that makes sense.
After about a 15-minute wait I walk up to one of the tellers and place my bet: Colts moneyline parlayed with the under...cause why not. The teller was very helpful, and betting was pretty standard. No issues there. They had 10 tellers going to handle the demand, and there really wasn't a line until 25 minutes before game time. So, they really did all they could to accommodate the crowd. I ordered a beer and found a spot to set up shop.
In-Game Betting With DraftKings
First up on my review of online sportsbooks was DraftKings Indiana. I downloaded the app and set up an account, no problem. It was very easy to deposit money using my PayPal account, and I was ready to go. After looking around the app a bit, I noticed something interesting: Flash Bets!
Flash Bets allows you to bet on the outcome of each drive (at least that's how it works for the NFL). For example, the Colts field a punt on the 20-yard line. You can now bet one of the following outcomes:
1. They score a TD
2. They kick a FG
3. They turnover the ball
4. They punt
5. They give up a safety
Odds change after each play, so get your bets in quickly. Pretty fun, but I was betting Texans to turnover the ball and they never did. Then the first drive after I gave up, they did just that! I was getting usually around 7 to 1 odds, meaning I bet 5 and I win 40 (35 plus my initial bet).
Something about Online Sports Betting
After using the DraftKings app for a little bit, one thing became pretty clear. The future of sports betting cannot exist without the smartphone. Caesars will launch their online book in the near future, and people will be using it while sitting at "The Book" or sitting at home on their couch. The two mediums of the sportsbook and online platform are not at odds with one another. They complement each other perfectly. While writing this, I can think of a dozen ways that they could completement each other.
At the half I checked out the casino some. They have a poker room and bar serving craft beer on the other side. There is a buffet, and some other restaurants in the area. Also, a pretty cool circle bar at the center. I had a great burger from one of the faster-service eateries in the area and headed back to the sportsbook.
End of Game
Well, I stayed alive until the very end of the game. But the Colts lost in the end. Headed back to my hotel and off to bed. All-in-all it was a great evening!
Check out Day 2 and Day 3 of our trip for more reviews of the Chicago area sports betting scene.
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