A long-rumored partnership involving FanDuel Sportsbook and a track with a prime retail location in Illinois is finally moving forward.
The Illinois Gaming Board found Fairmount Park near St. Louis preliminarily suitable for a gaming license and granted a master sports wagering license.
It sounds like the track will go by a new name to promote the FanDuel brand. Its d/b/a on the agenda was FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing.
The track will transition to a ‘racino’ and offer a full slate of slots and table games if it is granted a casino license.
The latest IL sports betting deal for FanDuel puts it on a more even playing field with its top competitors, DraftKings Sportsbook and BetRivers Sportsbook.
Path to IL for FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel’s launch in Illinois was expected to be with Fairmount Park instead of with Par-A-Dice Casino.
Fairmount sits east of St. Louis. That kind of positioning could have been crucial in the Illinois market given the in-person registration requirement for at least the first 18 months.
Par-A-Dice, by comparison, sits near the middle of the state and is hours away from the metropolitans of Chicago and St. Louis.
The coronavirus pandemic changed that though. After sports betting launched in March, Gov. JB Pritzker suspended the in-person requirement in June because casinos were closed.
Pritzker has gone back and forth on the suspension since then, but it currently remains in place. A worsening outlook for the virus in most areas of the country may lead to another extension come mid-November.
DraftKings still has edge in market?
Whenever sports betting registration does revert back to in-person registration, DraftKings Sportsbook might hold a slight location edge over FanDuel.
DraftKings at Casino Queen sits just over the Missouri-Illinois border split by the Mississippi River.
That means sports bettors would have to drive by that casino in order to get to FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing, which is about a 15-minute drive.
DraftKings is also partnered with the Chicago Cubs for a sportsbook at Wrigley Field and with slot route operator Accel Entertainment.
Illinois market ramping up quickly
Allowing remote registration, especially for the NFL betting season, has led to a much stronger launch period than expected for Illinois.
The state’s sportsbooks took $139.8 million in handle in August, which was up significantly from the $52.5 million in July.
Those figures are significant because BetRivers dominated both months. The brand was the first online sportsbook to launch and take advantage of the remote registration requirement while live.
September‘s results should look vastly different with a full month of operations and marketing opportunities for DraftKings and FanDuel. Both PointsBet and William Hill also launched in September as well.