FanDuel Sportsbook Expands in Illinois
FanDuel Sportsbook has already become one of the leaders in the Illinois sports betting industry, but that company is looking to make an even bigger move.
Earlier this week, FanDuel opened up a second retail sportsbook in the state, and this new location should lead to some significant results.
FanDuel initially gained market access into the state of Illinois through a partnership with Boyd Gaming. This partnership gave the sports betting operator access to the online and retail sports betting licenses through the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria.
Now, FanDuel has moved that online license to a location formerly named Fairmount Park in Collinsville. The new property is called FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing, and retail betting is available as of Monday.
The property is the second horse racing track in Illinois to open up as a retail sportsbook, with the first being Hawthorne Park. PointsBet Sportsbook offers sports betting at Hawthorne Park, and several satellite locations are being established as well.
FanDuel was not having much success in Central Illinois, but the COVID-19 restrictions played a prominent role in the slow start. Moving to Collinsville will allow FanDuel to attract sports bettors from nearby St. Louis as Missouri has not yet legalized sports betting.
Former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, and he placed the ceremonial first bet. His selection, a bet on the St. Louis Cardinals +2200 to win the 2021 World Series Championship.
The Par-A-Dice Casino is still taking retail bets for FanDuel Sportsbook, but this location is now looking for a new online partner. There is plenty of speculation that BetMGM will be the company that is ultimately awarded the rights to that license.
Illini Fans Must Travel to Bet
The good news for Fighting Illini sports fans is that their college basketball team is one of the favorites to win the National Championship. The bad news is that betting on Illinois in-state college teams is still illegal based on the current sports betting rules and regulations.
There has been a recent push to change these restrictions, but nothing will be done in time for a bet to be placed during the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The Illinois sports betting industry is expected to post another new record in March, and college basketball will lead the way.
Both Indiana and Iowa allow for betting on collegiate sporting events, and bettors in Illinois can travel across the border to place a bet on the Fighting Illini. Lawmakers have used this point to frame their argument to change the current rules, but there is also strong opposition.
University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman has been one of the most outspoken proponents of keeping this form of betting prohibited. Whitman is concerned about the integrity of college athletics if betting was allowed.
Representative Mike Zalewski, a U of I graduate, has introduced the bill to change the current rules. The collegiate component will likely be a debate that continues for several weeks, but an amendment could be made before the start of college football season.
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