FanDuel might not be first to market in Illinois, but the operator looks on track to hit its next key target: the start of NFL season.
FanDuel’s licensing partner Par-A-Dice Casino last week submitted its go-live application for online betting on August 19.
The Illinois Gaming Board has been taking two to three weeks to approve those applications, suggesting FanDuel Sportsbook should be ready for NFL betting on September 10.
What’s the rush?
Ilinois Governor J.B. Pritzker last week re-suspended the requirement for in-person registration, essentially unshackling the IL sports betting market. That order only lasts until September 19, though, and it is unclear if Pritzker will extend it again.
And FanDuel will be some way behind its main rival, DraftKings, which was up and running just two hours after Pritzker issued his executive order last Friday.
On the plus side, FanDuel avoided the very public spat between DraftKings and BetRivers this week. But on the other hand, being first to market has potentially shown some benefit in other states.
FanDuel had a four-month headstart in PA and still holds a 13 percentage point lead in market share. Conversely, DraftKings launched one month earlier in Indiana and the market shares are reversed there. DraftKings enjoyed a head start in New Jersey but FanDuel eventually pulled ahead there.
There are other factors at play beyond just launch date of course, but it will be interesting to see how much difference three weeks makes, especially during a frenetic period in the sports calendar.
As just one example, the PGA Tour rocks up in Illinois this weekend, and could prove a fertile acquisition ground for BetRivers and DraftKings.
The NBA and NHL playoffs are also under way, as is the MLB season.
How will FanDuel Sportsbook be branded?
Finally, there’s some uncertainty around the FanDuel branding. IL rules states that the owner of the land-based license must be the prominently featured brand on the sportsbook. That’s why the Casino Queen property rebranded to ‘DraftKings at Casino Queen’ – so DraftKings could also be the lead name on the online sportsbook.
It’s still unclear whether Boyd is willing to do the same with its Par-A-Dice property. However, the FanDuel IL site currently shows a screenshot of the FanDuel Sportsbook with a subhead of ‘Presented by Par-A-Dice’.
That suggests the two partners may have something similar to DraftKings in the works. FanDuel declined to comment.