FanDuel Sportsbook Set to Expand in Illinois
FanDuel has already launched a mobile sports app in the state of Illinois, but it’s now set to expand into the retail side of things as well.
The Illinois Gaming Board has granted a master sports betting license to Fairmount Park, and that is where FanDuel will open up shop.
The official name of the new sportsbook will be the “FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing,” and it should become a major player in the Illinois market. The racetrack is looking to transition into becoming a racino, and slots and table games will be offered as well.
This is not the first deal that FanDuel has been able to make in Illinois, as it has already partnered with the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. It is through that partnership that FanDuel has been able to launch its mobile sports betting app.
Since Fairmount Park is located just outside of St. Louis, FanDuel thinks this is a much better location to attract new bettors. There is supposed to be an in-person registration requirement in Illinois, although that has been waived by Governor JB Pritzker a few times during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Par-A-Dice Casino property is in the middle of Illinois, hours away from both St. Louis and Chicago.
Fairmount Park has been looking for a sports betting partner since Illinois legalized the industry, and there were rumors that FanDuel was looking to purchase the historic venue. It doesn’t appear that is the case any longer, but both groups will still get a huge boost in revenue when the sportsbook finally opens to the public.
There are several other sportsbooks eyeing Illinois as their next state to launch in, including Unibet sportsbook, who have already gone live in IN, PA & NJ.
DraftKings Still King
The only problem with launching in the St. Louis area is that DraftKings already has a presence in the southern part of the state. DraftKings has partnered with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis and has already launched both retail and mobile betting.
There is plenty of room for both operators in that portion of the state, but DraftKings is much closer to the Illinois/Missouri border. Bettors from Missouri would actually have to travel past the DraftKings Sportsbook to get to Fairmount Park.
Both DraftKings and FanDuel were expected to be kept out of the state for at least 18 months, but both operators were able to find a land-based partner to avoid the “penalty box” for online-only operators.
September Numbers Not Yet Out
The sports betting industry in Illinois is growing quickly, and that growth is not expected to slow down anytime soon. The total sports betting handle in August was just under $140 million, which was up from just $52.5 million in July.
BetRivers Sportsbook was the clear leader during both July and August, but it also didn’t have much competition. Since that time, four other operators have launched operations, including some of the biggest names in the industry.
Both DraftKings and FanDuel had an entire month of operations during September, and PointsBet and William Hill also launched during the month. Couple that with the start of the 2020 NFL season, and the numbers should be huge when they are finally announced.
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