DraftKings Launches Its Illinois Sportsbook Today

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The freshly rebranded DraftKings at Casino Queen launched its sportsbook operations in Illinois, becoming the second online betting app in the state.

Sports betting officially goes live at 1 p.m. local time. The launch includes both retail and online through the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

“Illinois is home to some of the most passionate sports fans and most iconic sports teams in the entire country,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said. “DraftKings’ dedication to innovation and providing customers with a premier sports betting experience has made our app the top-rated option and we can’t wait for fans in Illinois to discover why.”

Unfortunately for DraftKings, its reach is significantly limited by in-person registration for more than a year.

DraftKings Sportsbook missed online registration window

Interest in the Illinois sports betting market spiked when online registration became an option.

Gov. JB Pritzker lifted the requirement for in-person registration in early June through an executive order as casinos remained closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But that relief ended earlier than most anticipated. Pritzker didn’t renew the proclamation that suspended that requirement in late July, meaning in-person registration is again required for online sportsbook accounts.

In-person registration is required until the first online-only license is approved in the state. Those $20 million licenses can’t be applied for until the market has been live for a year and a half, or sometime in September 2021.

DraftKings at Casino Queen enters battle for St. Louis bettors

DraftKings Sportsbook is now pushing into the St. Louis territory briefly controlled by Penn National.

Penn’s Argosy Casino in Alton was the only casino offering sports betting in the St. Louis metro area. But that changes with DraftKings at Casino Queen a short drive from Missouri in East St. Louis.

“We are excited to bring sports betting to Illinois and the St. Louis community,” noted Terry Downey, President, DraftKings at Casino Queen. “The marriage of two iconic brands promises to create an unforgettable experience that can only be found at DraftKings at Casino Queen. Fans will come to love the service, passion and innovation now available in our state.”

DraftKings has an advantage in the St. Louis market for now. Penn doesn’t have a mobile sportsbook yet, though one is expected to launch this year from the Barstool Sportsbook brand.

Just the second online sportsbook, for now

DraftKings Sportsbook is only the second online sportsbook in Illinois right now.

Rush Street launched the BetRivers app about a week and a half after Pritzker approved mobile registration. That gave BetRivers more than a month of customer signups from mobile.

William Hill opened its retail book at Grand Victoria Elgin, about 40 miles outside of Chicago, this week.

PointsBet is also expected to launch sometime soon at Hawthorne Race Track. PointsBet is expected to make a big impact in Illinois market share since Hawthorne sits just ten miles from downtown Chicago. The deal also includes branded sportsbooks at three off-track betting facilities in the state.