Is FanDuel Going to Expand in Illinois with Fairmount Park?

Is FanDuel Going to Expand in Illinois with Fairmount Park?
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FanDuel appears poised to expand its presence in Illinois.

The Illinois Gaming Special Board Meeting on Thursday lists FanDuel and Fairmount Park on its agenda items. Under the “Organization Gaming Licensee” items to be discussed includes a finding of “preliminary suitability” for Fairmount Park Inc. doing business as FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing.

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Also, under “Sports Wagering,” Fairmount Park and FanDuel are also listed on the agenda under Master Sports Wagering Licensee items.

Fairmount Park is located in Collinsville, about 12 miles from St. Louis. The racetrack is currently under state coronavirus restrictions, according to its website.

A spokesman for FanDuel declined comment Wednesday.

FanDuel launched its sports betting app in Illinois on Aug. 28 through a partnership with Boyd Gaming, owners of Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria.

Original Plan Delayed

Originally, it seemed that FanDuel was set to launch in Illinois with Fairmount Park earlier this year in a rebranding deal, according to published reports.

The move would have allowed FanDuel to avoid Illinois’ “18-month penalty box” for operators in the state law, but the track did not have its Master Sports Betting license. FanDuel then launched with Par-A-Dice to enter the Illinois market.

But with FanDuel and Fairmount listed for discussion at Thursday’s special board meeting, it appears the plan for those two to partner could be revived if a Master Sports Betting License is awarded. This would give FanDuel two retail sports betting locations, with Par-A-Dice and Fairmount Park, and two online partners.

On Sept. 30, PointsBet was the first llinois sportsbooks to go live while partnering with a horse racetrack, Hawthorne Race Course, about 10 miles from Chicago.

Transfer of ownership of Casino Queen doing business as DraftKings at Casino Queen is also on Thursday's gaming board agenda.

Illinois and Remote Registration

On Oct. 16, Gov. JB Pritzker extended Executive Order 2020-41, allowing remote sports betting registration in Illinois until at least Nov. 14 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Given Par-A-Dice’s location relative to the rest of the state, the extension was key in getting potential bettors easier access to sign up. Par-A-Dice is centrally located in Illinois, about three hours from Chicago and 2-1/2 hours from St. Louis. With FanDuel’s competition, BetRivers and DraftKings, located in major metro markets, remote registration is key for the company’s sports betting growth.

The state has yet to report its September sports betting figures, but the August total sports handle in Illinois came in at $140 million, with 88.5% of that being mobile.

August’s handle was a 166.7% increase from July’s $52.5 million. July marked the first full month of sports betting in Illinois and 92% of the handle was online even with in-person registration active for part of the month.