Cubs Need More Money To Not Pay Players, Want To Add Sportsbook To Wrigley
It was widely reported that the Cubs suffered "biblical losses" due to COVID last year.
Hopefully, they'll be able to recoup some of them with the new 2-story DraftKings-sponsorsed sportsbook that they want to attach to historic Wrigley Field.
This was something that they unveiled back in September and announced they would be moving forward with the plan in July.
Well, according to Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago Business Reports, the team will bring the plan to the Chicago City Council today. This is still no where near a done deal for the Cubs and the city of Chicago.
But there are significant hurdles to clear: In addition to winning approval from the landmarks panel, the team needs the City Council to sign off not only on the development itself but also pass an ordinance that would allow sports betting inside the city's major stadiums.
An ordinance to allow sports betting inside major stadiums was presented to the Council last month. This is not a minor hurdle because the existing brink and mortar casinos that currently offer sports betting fear that this would cannibalize action from their books.
I personally don't think it would take too much out of the gambling pie from other casinos. If anything it would introduce sports betting the section of the public that wouldn't normally step foot into a casino but feel that it's "okay" if it's at a ball park.
There's also the fact that the Cubs need permission from Major League Baseball to operate a sports book within the confines of the park. Baseball obviously has a touchy history with gambling, see: Pete Rose, Black Sox, so it will be interesting to see how they would regulate it, which according to this ESPN article from 2020 could be quite nuanced.
ESPN - If the Ricketts family, owners of the Cubs, were to take a material stake in the DraftKings' sportsbook at Wridley Field, MLB could place restrictions on which bets could be taken. If Cubs ownership remains independent from the sportsbook, the restrictions on which bets could be taken would not apply.
Then if all that goes well they still need approval from the landmarks panel which could honestly be the hardest of all. I don't know where the landmarks panel stands on gambling but I'm pretty sure attaching DraftKings to an historic site is not what they generally prefer.
It is Chicago, so I'm sure someone will find a way to stack up a big enough bribe to make it happen.
The Cubs did release some renderings of what the park could look like and it actually doesn't look too bad. It blends in with the surroundings and doesn't scream gambling. This might work.
UPDATE: The city council unanimously approved the sports book earlier this afternoon. Now it's on to the MLB and the landmarks panel.
Hopefully, it will offset some of the biblical losses the club suffered over the last 18 months and allow them to spend some money in the free agent market. Time will have to tell.
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