The Chicago Cubs are considering opening up a sportsbook inside and outside of Wrigley Field as the state of Illinois prepares to implement a new sports gambling law, according to an ESPN report.
On June 2, Illinois' legislature passed SB 690, a bill that authorizes regulated sports betting. The bill is still awaiting the signature of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has been supportive of the legislation that will bring a casino to Chicago and potentially gambling to stadiums of professional sports teams including the Chicago Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks.
The MLB, NFL and NHL are reviewing the legislation and would ultimately have to sign off to allow any gambling possibilities inside franchises' venues. Currently, MLB prohibits sportsbooks and betting kiosks inside an actual ballpark. But the league discussed the topic at December's winter meetings in Las Vegas while addressing the altered landscape since the U.S. Supreme Court took down the federal law restricting sports gambling.
General view of the exterior of Wrigley Field before game five of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. (Photo: Jerry Lai, USA TODAY Sports)
According to the ESPN report, the Cubs are considering the following inside its historic stadium: Betting windows, automated kiosks and a sportsbook venue.
The new legislation in Illinois would allow for sports venues like Wrigley Field the ability to for sports betting inside or within a five-block radius, if the Cubs were to apply for a sports wagering license that costs $10 million.
Professional leagues and franchises have started to partner with gambling companies in recent months; the MLB became a betting partner with MGM Resorts in November and Cubs owner Tom Rickets invested in sports betting media outlet, The Acton Network, in March.
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Messages made to the Cubs by USA TODAY Sports on the matter Monday afternoon were not immediately returned.
The Chicago White Sox are also considering sports wagering inside the stadium, according to the ESPN report. The White Sox were part of the 1919 "Black Sox" gambling scandal in which eight members of the Chicago team were accused of intentionally losing and fixing the World Series that year.
Under the legislation, which was supported by MLB, the NBA and multiple team owners, sports facilities with seating capacity greater than 17,000 could apply for a license to offer sports betting inside or within a five-block radius of the venues. Soldier Field, home of the Bears; United Center, where the Bulls and Blackhawks play; and Guaranteed Rate Park, the White Sox's stadium, are among the venues that can apply for a masters sports wagering license, which costs $10 million.
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