Sports Betting Par-A-Dice: FanDuel Launches Retail, Mobile Sportsbooks in Illinois

Posted on: August 29, 2020, 12:06h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2020, 01:21h.

It’s now a party of three in Illinois, as FanDuel launched its mobile sports betting app in the state Friday, joining DraftKings and BetRivers.

FanDuel Illinois
FanDuel is partnering with the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Ill., to offer its sportsbook and mobile sports betting app in the state. (Image: Boyd Gaming)

FanDuel is partnering with the Par-A-Dice Casino, as the sports technology company leverages its partnership with Boyd Gaming, which owns the East Peoria venue. FanDuel will also operate a retail sportsbook at the casino.

We have been waiting for this day for quite some time,” said Mike Raffensperger, CMO of FanDuel Group, in a statement. “Sports are back, so we are going to show sports fans in Illinois an innovative sports betting app experience with industry leading promotions and consumer protections that have made FanDuel the No. 1 sportsbook in the U.S.”

Illinois becomes the sixth state for FanDuel to offer its mobile platform, joining Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

FanDuel’s app is available on Android and iOS platforms. Like other states with mobile betting, wagering is only allowed within the state lines.

Besides BetRivers, DraftKings, and now FanDuel, Illinois does have other retail sportsbooks established at casinos. Penn National Gaming has books currently open at the Argosy Casino Alton and the Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet. William Hill operates a sportsbook at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.

FanDuel’s launch had been anticipated, as online searches earlier this month showed the company touting its arrival.

Mobile Waiver Creates Opportunity for FanDuel

FanDuel, which received its temporary operating permit from the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) last month, rolled out its app just one week after Gov. J.B. Pritzker reinstated an order waiving the in-person requirement to establish a mobile sports betting account because of the ongoing COVID-19 emergency in the state.

Legislators passed an expanded gaming law last year that allowed brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and mobile applications. But the legislation required in-person registration, meaning a customer would physically have to go to the participating casino to first create their account before they could use it anywhere in the state.

The in-person requirement is meant to be in effect until at least 2022 when online-only licenses would be available. The plan was considered a “penalty box” for FanDuel and DraftKings, which operated daily fantasy sports in the state for years without permission. In other sports betting states where mobile registration is allowed, FanDuel and DraftKings have leveraged their existing client base and marketing reach to become the dominant brands.

Rather than wait for an online-only license, FanDuel and DraftKings sought to build partnerships. DraftKings entered an agreement with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, which led to the casino taking on both names. Before deciding to move forward with Par-A-Dice, FanDuel had been reportedly pursuing a similar agreement with Fairmount Park in Collinsville, located near East St. Louis.

Pritzker’s order waiving the in-person requirement will be in effect until at least Sept. 19. By that time, the NFL season, the largest betting market in the US, is likely to be underway. The waiver means Chicago sports bettors will not need to make the nearly six-hour round-trip to sign up for a FanDuel account. For now, at least.

Illinois Sports Betting Likely to be Massive Market

At 12.9 million people, Illinois edges Pennsylvania to become the U.S.’s largest state to offer mobile sports betting. While betting on in-state college teams and games is still prohibited, Chicago is home to five teams in the big four major sports, and neighboring St. Louis in Missouri has baseball and hockey teams with strong support in downstate Illinois.

Sports betting industry experts had criticized the move for in-person registration for online accounts, saying it would keep people using unregulated offshore sportsbooks or illegal local bookies. Even if the waiver is limited, FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetRivers aggressive marketing campaigns will likely draw bettors to sign up for accounts and allow the state to potentially pocket millions more in revenue.

And FanDuel won’t be the last sportsbook in the state. PointsBet, which just announced a massive partnership with NBC Sports, will be rolling out its app and sportsbook in the near future. In addition, the state law allows Chicago’s sports stadiums and arenas to open sportsbooks. So far, none have taken advantage of the opportunity. But COVID-19 has kept the venues vacant for the time being.