The state of Illinois legalized sports gambling last summer, and immediately speculation began about the Cubs possibly opening some sort of sports book at Wrigley Field, or nearby.
Thursday, that speculation became reality with the Cubs announcing a partnership with DraftKings to do exactly that:
“This is truly a historic moment, as we are thrilled to align with the renowned Chicago Cubs franchise and iconic Wrigley Field to provide sports bettors in Chicago with a revolutionary sports betting experience” said Matt Kalish, Co-founder and President, DraftKings North America. “As two organizations that share a mutual passion for innovation and a commitment to excellence, we look forward to working in collaboration with the Cubs, an organization steeped in tradition, and making our presence felt in and around Wrigleyville.”
“DraftKings has been a great partner for a number of years and we are excited to expand this relationship as sports betting grows rapidly in Illinois,” said Crane Kenney, President of Business Operations, Chicago Cubs. “An increasing number of sports fans want to integrate sports betting into their game experience, and we’re excited to be one of the first to engage in developing a retail sportsbook at a professional sports venue.”
There are still quite a few things that have to happen before this sportsbook opens, according to this ESPN article. The article notes that regulatory approval has to come from the city of Chicago and the team and DraftKings will have to get a license from the Illinois Gaming Board. With the legalization of sports gambling in the state, these regulatory hurdles shouldn’t be too great.
Major League Baseball could also have a say:
Major League Baseball prohibits any club owner who has a material stake in a sportsbook from having an active role in the company’s management. If the Ricketts family, owners of the Cubs, were to take a material stake in the DraftKings’ sportsbook at Wrigley Field, MLB could place restrictions on which bets could be taken. If Cubs ownership remains independent from the sportsbook, the restrictions on which bets could be taken would not apply.
The article notes that legal sportsbooks are now open in 18 states and Washington, DC, and more are expected in the near future.
Of course, no one knows when fans will be back in Wrigley Field and the article notes that there’s no specific timeline for opening this sportsbook. But one day, you might be able to place a wager on the Cubs or other sports teams along with your beer at the ballpark.
As always, we await developments.