In September 2020, the Chicago Cubs and DraftKings announced a sports betting partnership. Part of the $100 million deal included plans for a DraftKings Sportsbook inside Wrigley Field, but that still can’t happen because of a current law from the city council that bans Illinois sports betting in Chicago.
Alderman Walter Burnett is attempting to lift the sports betting ban in the city and clear a path for sports betting to become legal at each of the city’s stadiums, including the Draftkings IL Sportsbook at Wrigley Field, along with Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, Wintrust Arena and the United Center.
The stadiums re-opened in mid-June to full capacity after the state lifted COVID restrictions.
At a city council meeting on Wednesday, Burnett advocated sports betting at each of those stadiums, or in a permanent building or structure located within a five-block radius of those stadiums, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Under the ordinance he introduced at the meeting, Chicago’s home-rule ban would be lifted, and parameters would be established for the city to issue sports betting licenses and profit from it.
“Wrigley and the United Center — they’ve both been talking about setting up a spot for it,” said Burnett, who is the chairmen of the City Council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety. “So this ordinance needs to be passed in order for that to happen. We’ll see where the council wants to go with it.
“In my community, it’ll bring more people to the United Center. They may spend more money. It helps with the sales tax and also the amusement that these guys pay. So there is some upside. … There’s more benefits for the state, but there’s some auxiliary benefits for the city.”
More on the Proposal
With Burnett’s proposed ordinance, no more than 15 sports betting kiosks or wagering windows would be permitted at each location unless bettors can also buy food and drink, according to the report. People under 21 would not be permitted to place a bet, and sports betting would be prohibited from midnight to 10 a.m. Monday to Thursday; midnight Friday through 9 a.m. Saturday; and from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Two types of sports betting licenses would be issued by the city. Primary sports licenses begin at $50,000 a year and cost $25,000 for annual renewal. Secondary sports betting licenses start at $10,000 and have an annual renewal fee of $5,000.
DraftKings, Cubs Preparing for Sportsbook
Cubs spokesman Julian Green told the Sun-Times the partners are looking to build an addition to the $1 billion Wrigley area that would be a year-round attraction for Illinois MLB sports betting fans. Fans could congregate at the DraftKings Sportsbook for all the major sporting events throughout the year.
“DraftKings says this would be their largest sportsbook in the country with a food and beverage option and betting,” Green said. “In the winter months, you have Super Bowl. You have March Madness. Having a facility where groups may want to come in and watch the Super Bowl or March Madness — that’s something we could accommodate.”
A location for the DraftKings Sportsbook is still to be determined. Renderings of what the sportsbook could look like have floated online and across social media, but nothing official has been announced. In June, a construction update was provided by the Cubs.
“Where? We don’t know yet,” Green said. “That would be discussed with the city.
“We have a tower where our front office is located. There’s also the space that was part of the planned development over near Sheffield and Addison. The DraftKings club used to be over there. ... Now we don’t have anything over there on that mini-triangle parcel. We could look at options at the office tower or there.”