FanDuel, DraftKings Licenses Make Illinois Sports Betting Land Of Thinkin’

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Illinois sports betting

The buzz around mobile Illinois sports betting reaches new volume this week as FanDuel and DraftKings receive their temporary permits.

The Illinois Gaming Board website shows that both companies are now licensed for sports betting as of Friday. Could the approvals mean launch is imminent for FanDuel and DraftKings apps under newly loosened signup regulations?

Thus far, BetRivers is the only mobile IL sports betting app to launch under Gov. J.B. Pritzker‘s executive order removing in-person signup requirements. Pritzker lifted the restriction because the coronavirus pandemic shuttered Illinois casinos and made it impossible to complete new account signups.

Illinois sports betting market suddenly hot

Online sports betting in Illinois appeared far off in the distance before the pandemic began. The 18-month in-person signup period dampened enthusiasm in Chicago and beyond.

FanDuel and DraftKings appeared sidelined by an Illinois law designed to punish the former DFS giants for operating in the state in apparent violation of an attorney general opinion from 2015. Both companies needed to partner with an existing casino in the state or face a competitive online license process requiring a $20 million license fee.

Pritzker’s order stoked urgency among operators to expedite Illinois in their mobile sports betting plans. PointsBet prioritized Illinois even before the pandemic and also received its license last week. Now FanDuel and DraftKings look prepared to enter the market before the NFL season begins.

Wait just a minute

The operators still need their partners to obtain sports wagering licenses, though:

The unexpected race to the starting line in Illinois contains an extra piece of uncertainty as well. Pritzker’s order extends:

“during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation or the Illinois Gaming Board issues a competitively bid master sports wagering license”

That means no one knows how long the order will be in effect.

The edge for FanDuel, DraftKings?

Companies obtaining customers during the order could gain a massive advantage in one of the most populous US markets because accounts opened now will be able to wager remotely even after the order lifts.

This gives well-capitalized companies like FanDuel and DraftKings the edge they previously lacked in the Land of Lincoln. A FanDuel spokesperson declined comment on the company’s launch plans, although the company’s Illinois landing page is active:

DraftKings provided a statement from Tim Dent, its chief compliance officer:

“We can confirm that we received our Temporary Operating Permit in Illinois, which brings us one step closer to going live in the state. We look forward to continuing to work with the Illinois Gaming Board towards being able to offer Illinois’ sports fans our top-rated sportsbook platform to wager on their favorite sports, teams and players.”

The company made its deal with Casino Queen public via a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last month.