The MLB panorama is changing, all thanks to the Chicago Cubs. The team announced plans to have a sportsbook at Wrigley Field, one of the most iconic ballparks, that will offer betting windows and auto-service kiosks.
Sports gambling enthusiasts are witnessing a change in how they’re able to place wagers across all sports leagues, and this is a huge milestone in the introduction of legal, regulated sports gambling in the US.
Wrigley Field Gets Sportsbook
The Cubs announced today that they are in the process of signing a multiyear partnership with DraftKings that will include plans for having a sportsbook at Wrigley Field or in the Wrigleyville area outside the field. In doing so, the team becomes the first MLB franchise to begin operating a retail sportsbook at their ballpark.
Crane Kenney, president of business operations for the Cubs, commented about the deal in a news report, explaining, “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.” He added that he believes this partnership will motivate fans to get involved more closely with the sports experience and possibly make some profit out of it.
The specific location of the sportsbook is not yet clear, nor is the timeline for its launch. Several regulatory procedures need to be addressed after the deal is finalized before any sportsbook wagering can take place, but the Wrigley Field ballpark is now waiting to be granted development approval from the city of Chicago. Furthermore, DraftKings is the Cubs’ specific sports operator, and it must be approved with a master sports wagering license with the Illinois Gaming Board.
DraftKings Gains Ground
Financial details like how and if the revenue from the sportsbook are to be shared between DraftKings and the Cubs haven’t been divulged. According to the deal, DraftKings will be the official sports wagering and daily fantasy associate for the Cubs. The sportsbook is already doing business with Casino Queen in East St. Louis; however, it states that opening a sportsbook at Wrigley Field will become a huge partnership for the company and American sports.
Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings, told ESPN, “What we’re really excited about is a major metropolitan presence of a destination flagship DraftKings sportsbook.” He adds, “I think it will be potentially one of the biggest sportsbooks in the country, even if all 50 states were open. So, we’re really excited to see what that kind of venue can do for DraftKings and the Cubs.”
Sports Gambling Continues Its US Advance
Recently, legal sportsbooks have begun operations in 18 states, as well as the District of Columbia (DC). More states are set to start sports betting markets in the coming months, with an emphasis being placed on the potential revenue that can be generated from the activity.
In the past, MLB decided not to get involved with sports wagering, which former commissioner Bud Selig used to describe as “evil” and a threat to the game. Unfortunately, baseball’s history with gambling is damaged by the “Black Sox” scandal from 1919. But now things are different for the league, as well as the US. Plus, it should be pointed out that sports gambling has been a regular, accepted activity in other parts of the world for decades.
Sports Gambling Is No Longer “Evil”
Jurisdictions are more open to accepting sportsbooks into their sports worlds like is the case of Illinois and DC. An example of this is Capital One Arena in DC, which transformed its box office into a temporary sportsbook. It is managed by bookmaker William Hill U.S., and other sports facilities have acknowledged plans to launch similar operations at their properties.
Kalish dreams of having both a sportsbook and a sports bar at Wrigley Field ballpark where fans could enjoy having a beer and placing a few bets. He explains, “It might be the Cubs to win, maybe a few props like first home run, then stroll into the game at 6:45, sit down, sweat my bets and cheer on the Cubs.” He adds, “Then, after the game I can stop back at the DraftKings book, relax with my friends, get some food and drink and think about the next day’s game, maybe put in a few more tickets.”