Wrigleyville Draft Kings bar begins in-person sports betting just in time for March Madness

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Friday, March 15, 2024
Wrigleyville Draft Kings bar opens in-person betting
Chicago sports betters can now place in-person wagers at the Wrigleyville Draft Kings bar on the North Side, just in time for March Madness.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In-person sports betting is now underway at Wrigley Field.

The Draft Kings bar and restaurant in Wrigleyville opened last Summer, but Friday marks the start of actual betting at the sports book location, just in time for Big Ten basketball tournament play.

March Madness is one of the biggest times of the year for sports betting. With the Big Ten tournament this weekend, lots of fans have bene betting on the two Illinois teams, Northwestern and Illinois.

Americans are predicted to bet nearly $3 billion on March Madness. That is about twice as much as they bet on the Super Bowl, according to the American Gaming Association.

Former Chicago Bear Kyle Long was drafted as a pitcher by the White Sox, but the first official bet at the new sports book adjacent to Wrigley Field has to be on the Cubs.

"I think the odds were pretty good, so I had to get after it," Long said.

If the Cubs win the World Series, Long stands to win a few thousand dollars. The operators of Draft Kings Sportsbook stand to win big also, getting the go-ahead from the gaming board to open just in time for the NCAA tournament, as well as the start of the Major League Baseball season.

The Cubs will open the season in less than two weeks.

"We're excited to be open now for opening day, baseball season as well as March Madness," said Stephen Miraglia with Draft Kings.

The sportsbook features a 2,000 square foot screen above the bar and restaurant that can show one or a couple dozen sporting events at a time. When they opened last June, that was the main feature.

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"It's cool. I like the setup," customer NJ Foster said. "The atmosphere is pretty nice. Not too shabby."

There are lots of options for sports betting these days, but Draft Kings is counting on the social atmosphere and the location adjacent to Wrigley Field to draw fans to the experience there.

Ana Jahjah was there with family to bet on the Big Ten tournament.

"I'm gong for Purdue," Jahjah said. "Hopefully they'll win."