A Wrigley Field Sportsbook: DraftKings Cements Illinois Sports Betting Status With Chicago Cubs Deal

Posted on September 3, 2020

DraftKings will open a retail sportsbook at Wrigley Field as part of a new deal that makes DK the official sports betting and DFS partner of the Chicago Cubs.

The retail book is unlikely to open until 2022 however, with several regulatory hurdles still to be cleared before the new Illinois sportsbook can go live. DraftKings Sportsbook and the Cubs must obtain city approval for the development for starters.

Under Illinois’ gambling law, sports teams can run retail betting onsite and mobile betting within five blocks of their stadia for a $10 million licensing fee.

DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish pledged to deliver a “revolutionary experience” for Cubs fans.

“We look forward to working in collaboration with the Cubs, an organization steeped in tradition, and making our presence felt in and around Wrigleyville,” Kalish said.

Does this move the needle for DraftKings in Illinois?

DraftKings is already live in Illinois through its deal with Casino Queen in East St. Louis. It is also able to take remote sign-ups thanks to Gov. JB Pritzkersrecent U-turn on the topic. That is in place through at least Sept. 19.

As a result, the added benefit to DraftKings could be as much about branding and visibility as actual revenues. The Cubs are also big in a pair of states with sports betting: there are fully online sportsbooks in Indiana, and Iowa sportsbooks end their in-person registration requirement next year.

DraftKings also just brought aboard Chicago icon Michael Jordan in an advisory role.

More betting deals on the way for Chicago sports teams?

The Cubs’ president of business operations, Crane Kenney, said an increasing number of fans wanted to integrate betting into their gameday experience.

“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 Kenney.

“We’re excited to be one of the first to engage in developing a retail sportsbook at a professional sports venue.”

The Cubs are the first team to announce a sports betting partner in Illinois. The Bears, White Sox and Bulls could all theoretically announce similar deals.

We have seen similar agreements between bookmakers and sports teams in other states, notably Colorado. The Broncos already have three sports betting partners, including a deal with Betfred that includes an on-venue betting lounge.

Photo by M. Spencer Green, File
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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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