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FanDuel Set to Open in Illinois Market

The Illinois sports betting industry is set to get a major boost as FanDuel Sportsbook is set to enter the market. An official launch date has not yet been established, but most in the industry believe that it will happen before the start of the 2020 NFL season.

FanDuel has announced a partnership with Boyd Gaming, and that will allow them to provide sports betting at the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Illinois. FanDuel has been looking for a way to break into Illinois, and this partnership will give them that ability.

This partnership will allow FanDuel to launch mobile sports betting in the state of Illinois, but they will also be operating a retail sportsbook. Launching the mobile version will likely happen much quicker than retail betting.

Even if the mobile sports betting option is up and running, bettors must still visit the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria to complete the registration process. Governor JB Pritzker had waived this requirement, but it went back into effect on July 27.

FanDuel is not used to having this registration requirement in place, and it will likely take away some of the excitement that usually comes with a launch. Still, Illinois is a growing sports betting market, and FanDuel has been looking for a way to break into the market.

Avoiding the Penalty Box

When Illinois passed an expanded gaming law back in June 2019, there was plenty of discussion about online-only operators. That discussion centered around FanDuel, and their rival DraftKings.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings were placed in the “penalty box” for their actions on the daily fantasy sports side of things. In Illinois, lawmakers believed that these two companies were “bad actors” by allowing residents of the state to sign up and play at their sites.

The penalty box was intended to keep all online-only operators out of the state for 18 months after the first sports betting license was issued. Both FanDuel and DraftKings found a way around that issue by partnering with land-based casinos.

DraftKings has partnered with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, and they have already started taking bets online. With almost all live sports returning or getting ready to start in the United States, now is the perfect time for FanDuel to join the market. 

BetRivers Leading the Way

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, was the first casino to offer sports betting in Illinois, but they were up and running for less than a week before being shut down. When Governor Pritzker lifted the in-person registration requirement in June, Rivers Casino was quick to launch the BetRivers Sportsbook app this summer.

BetRivers was the only sportsbook that was able to take advantage of the mobile registration, which has helped them become a clear leader in the state. FanDuel is the leader in almost every state they service, and it will be interesting to see how quickly they can close the gap.

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