The Chicago Cubs and DraftKings announced a deal on Thursday morning that would bring the first-ever sportsbook to a Major League Baseball stadium. DraftKings is a Boston-based company, but they have become a leader throughout the Midwest.
DraftKings is now the official sports betting and daily fantasy partner of the Chicago Cubs, and promotional signage has already been on display inside Wrigley Field. This is a new multi-year partnership, but financial details were not disclosed in the announcement.
As part of the expanded gaming bill signed in Illinois last year, professional teams could apply for a sports betting license for $10 million. The Cubs are the first team in Illinois to pursue this opportunity, and they are the first MLB team to do so as well.
The Cubs have not yet announced where the new sportsbook will be built, but there is hope that it will be inside the historic ballpark. If a location is not available, then it will be built in the Wrigleyville area.
There are still several hurdles that must be cleared before construction of the new sportsbook can be built, but it is only a matter of time before things proceed. Illinois has been slow throughout the entire sports betting process, and that could delay things.
The Cubs and DraftKings now have to jointly apply for a master sports betting license with the Illinois Gaming Board. The Cubs will also have to seek approval from the city of Chicago before they can build a new development.
Other professional sports teams have announced similar deals throughout the summer, but Major League Baseball teams have been quiet until now. It is expected that other teams will seek similar deals, and DraftKings will likely try to expand.
DraftKings A Leader in Illinois
When Illinois first legalized sports betting, it was expected that both DraftKings and FanDuel would be kept out of the market until at least 2022. These companies were placed in the “penalty box” and could not apply for a license for 18 months.
Both of the Daily Fantasy Sports operators were able to find a way around the penalty box, and DraftKings has already made a huge splash in the state. Earlier this summer, the company launched the DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen, after partnering with the casino in East St. Louis.
The company launched its mobile application at the same time as the retail sportsbook, but the mobile app got off to a slow start. Illinois had an in-person registration requirement at the time of launch, and that forced customers to visit the Casino Queen before signing up.
Now that Governor JB Pritzker has removed the in-person registration requirement, DraftKings has seen a considerable increase in customers. DraftKings has already launched a number of popular promotions to stay ahead of the other two operators in the state.
BetRivers and FanDuel are both offering mobile sports betting in Illinois at this time.