The Wrigleyville neighborhood north of downtown Chicago doesn’t look like it did five years ago. Gone are some of the local bars and restaurants that gave the place a real neighborhood feel.
Led by a redesigned Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, some local spots are gone. In their place a hotel, a parking garage and several new upscale restaurants. The neighborhood is now more of a tourist destination and there will be another addition, a DraftKings sportsbook.
On Thursday, the Cubs announced a multi-year deal with DraftKings that makes them the first Major League Baseball franchise to partner with a sports betting company.
CHICAGO CUBS + DESIGNS
The details of the deal are still being discussed, but according to the press release there are plans to bring a “one-of-a-kind” sportsbook to legendary Wrigley Field.
Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings North America, had this to say:
“This is truly a historic moment as we are excited to partner with the prestigious Chicago Cubs franchise and legendary Wrigley Field to bring a revolutionary sports betting experience to sports bettors in Chicago. As two organizations with a shared passion for innovation and a commitment to excellence, we look forward to working with the Cubs, an organization steeped in tradition, and making our presence felt in and around Wrigleyville. “”
As the neighborhood continues to change, so does the customer experience, especially in the stadium.
Crane Kenny, President of Business Operations for the Cubs, said sports fans want MLB betting to be built into the gaming experience.
“DraftKings has been a great partner for a number of years and we look forward to building that relationship as sports betting grows rapidly in Illinois,” said Kenney. “And we are delighted to be one of the first to develop a sports betting for retail trade at a professional sports venue.”
SOME CHECK POINTS FOR LEGAL ILLINOIS SPORTS BETTING
Before fans can start placing bets, both DraftKings and the Cubs will have several miles of red tape to pound through. Both have to deal with the city of Chicago and the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB). This means the retail book is unlikely to open until 2022.
DraftKings doesn’t exactly have the best track record with Illinois and, as the Cubs-named sportsbook operator, must apply to IGB for a master sports betting license.
The team must get approval from the city to create a sportsbook. And under Illinois Gambling Act, you must pay a $ 10 million license fee to place on-site retail and mobile betting within five blocks.
DraftKings already operates mobile sports betting through its partnership with Casino Queen in East St. Louis. And with Governor JB Pritzkers’ reversal of remote registration, customers can now sign up for a sports betting account from home.
COULD OTHER CHICAGO SPORTS TEAMS FOLLOW?
It is expected that The Bears, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks could enter into sports betting partnerships in due course.
You could also recruit former top athletes as advisors. Chicago icon Michael Jordan recently joined DraftKings’ board of directors in an advisory capacity.
Of course, it’s too early to speculate what might happen in Chicago. The league has such a rich history of gambling. The “Black Sox” scandal of 1919; Pete Rose is betting on games while coaching the Cincinnati Reds; Former Commissioner Bud Selig described gambling as “bad”.
But now it seems that MLB has made peace with everything and is pretty comfortable with gaming these days.