• Sports betting in Illinois will become legal upon the signing of IL SB 690.
  • Betting scandals have plagued the state in the past but hopes are that they remain as history.
  • Betting in stadiums is prohibited per MLB rules, though the league is looking to modify this.

CHICAGO – The legislation supporting a legal sports betting industry in Illinois is still atop Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk for his signature of approval.

Though he is expected to sign IL SB 690 sometime this week, the action behind the scenes has come to the forefront.

Through sources at ESPN, rumors suggest that the Chicago Cubs are planning on turning their ivy-covered stadium, Wrigley Field, into a sports betting venue for those in attendance at games as well as bystanders moving through the Lake View neighborhood.

The stadium will be granted a five-block exclusivity, per text through the bill’s measure. Additionally, the license to offer legal sports betting will come at a cost of $10 million.

Though no set plans have been released as of yet, the rumors suggest that both betting windows and self-service kiosks will be planted throughout the venue. On top of that, a lounge will be created, where sports bettors can take action and relax in a comfortable sports bar-like atmosphere.

Currently, sportsbooks are banned at MLB stadiums, per the rules of the league. However, according to the sources at ESPN, the league is set to “work with our clubs to explore the opportunities presented by the rapidly evolving sports betting landscape in a socially responsible manner.”

While many in Chicago are ready for this next step, the suspicion of integrity issues still plagues the state. Though it will be 100 years since the 1919 Black Sox Scandal (where many players on the White Sox were involved in throwing the World Series), many are left wondering if the gaming commission will have the influence to keep everything in order.

Illinois has had its history of having governors load the gaming commission with pro-gaming mindsets. This has led to the acceptance of gambling expansion without carefully going through all of the details, including one situation in 1999 when a license was granted to casino despite investors being lied to by the state.

Plans are currently in the works for Governor Pritzker to appoint new members to the commission (and potentially remove some as well). The public is hoping that Pritzker won’t act like former governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, who were believed to be at the heart of the 1999 situation.

Assuming all goes and planned on the bill signing, the MLB approving in-stadium wagering, and the Illinois sports betting fiascos being a thing of the past, Wrigley Field could be accepting action as early as next baseball season.

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