DraftKings Reaches Sports Betting Deal With Illinois Casino

DraftKings Reaches Sports Betting Deal With Illinois Casino
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DraftKings will be entering the Illinois sports betting market after reaching a deal with Casino Queen in East St. Louis for market access.

The deal was included in an SEC filing from DraftKings when it was seeking to sell stock several weeks ago. In the filing DraftKings said, “On June 10, 2020, we entered into a multi-year arrangement with Casino Queen Inc. (“Casino Queen”) for retail and online sportsbook services providing us access to the Illinois market.”

The deal, which was described in the filing as five to 10 years, should allow DraftKings to avoid Illinois’ 18-month “penalty box” for online-only operators.

"DraftKings can confirm it has a market access deal with Casino Queen per our recent S-1 filing on June 16, 2020,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “We look forward to working with both the Illinois Gaming Board and Casino Queen to bring our legal sports betting product to Illinois."

DraftKings gave no timetable for when it expected to go live in Illinois. Sportico was first to report the deal.

RELATED: More on Illinois Online Casinos & Legislation

Avoiding The 18-Month Penalty Box

According to the Illinois gaming bill signed into law about a year ago, online-only operators have to wait 18 months after the first master license is approved before they can offer sports betting in the state. Master licenses were approved on June 11 for seven Illinois casinos, including Casino Queen.

There are just three online-only licenses available in Illinois and each costs $20 million, according to the law. But becoming affiliated directly with a casino, track or stadium/arena in the state allows the operator to bypass the waiting period.

Rush Street Interactive, based in Chicago, opened online sportsbook BetRivers through its Rivers Casino in Des Plaines on June 18, according to a news release. The BetRivers retail sportsbook took the state’s the first legal sports bet on March 9.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order on June 4 making it easier for mobile sports bettors to register online because of the coronavirus without visiting a casino. In-person registration at a casino was one of the requirements in the state law.

Casinos in Illinois were shut down by the state on March 16 and can reopen on July 1.

Quite A Run For DraftKings

Since going public at the end of April and seeing its price reach more than $40 a share on the NASDAQ, DraftKings has been on quite a roll:

  • In a recent SEC filing, the company announced it had completed the underwritten public offering of 46 million shares — 30 million by shareholders and 16 million by the company — receiving about $620 million. The capital could be used for future growth opportunities as more states legalize sports betting, the company said when the public offering was announced.
  • On June 23, the company launched a standalone DraftKings casino app in New Jersey featuring new games only found on the app and updated classic games like blackjack and roulette.
  • DraftKings PA Online Casino went live May 1 through a partnership with Hollywood Casino in the Poconos. The gaming operator also has made DraftKings Roulette available in its sportsbook app in Pennsylvania.
  • Also on May 1, it was one of four online sportsbooks to go in Colorado, which is expected to have a robust sports-betting market. Colorado became the seventh state to offer DraftKings’ mobile and online product. It also plans to launching a retail sportsbook at Black Hawk’s Mardi Gras Casino.

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