DraftKings Partners with Casino Queen For Early Entry Into Illinois

July 2, 2020
DraftKings Partners with Casino Queen For Early Entry Into Illinois July 2, 2020 Fantasy Sport

Casino QueenDraftKings confirmed earlier this week that they have agreed to a deal with the East St. Louis-based Casino Queen casino, which allows the online sportsbook giant to secure an early entry into Illinois’ sportsbetting industry.

The partnership between DraftKings and Casino Queen was struck in early June. It will last for a period between 5-10 years. The deal involves a sportsbetting app as well as a retail sportsbook located within the Casino Queen premises, who are also slated to receive an undisclosed portion of DraftKing’s net revenue.

Casino Queen obtained one of the seven four-year masters sportsbetting licenses handed out in June. There is still no word on when DraftKings plans to begin their operations in Illinois, although some believe that their digital sportsbetting products will go live in the next few weeks.

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DraftKings Avoids 18-Month Delay Imposed by State Law

DraftKings, as well as its main rival FanDuel were supposed to be curtailed by a state law that prohibited online-only sports betting licenses for the next 18 months. DraftKings’ partnership with Casino Queen is considered a way around this restriction, allowing DraftKings a major head start on FanDuel in the Illinois market. FanDuel is reportedly also seeking a way to circumvent the 18-month delay on their Illinois operations by trying to acquire Collinsville-based Fairmount Park.

When Illinois lawmakers approved sportsbetting last summer, they included a provision that sanctioned online-only operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel with an 18 month delay before the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) could issue online-only licenses to enter the state.

The provision was created to penalize both firms for offering daily fantasy sports in the state for years, which was deemed by state Attorney General Lisa Madigan as a violation of state laws.

The IGB issued the state’s first sportsbetting licenses in June, which should have meant that DraftKings and FanDuel would have to wait until 2021 to apply for their online-only license. The IGB has stated they will only have three licenses for online-only operators, priced at $20 million each.

Illinois Casinos to Reopen

Illinois currently has one online sports betting platform live and that is BetRivers which launched in June. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order last month that suspended a provision in state law that mandated in-person registration for digital sports bets, in order to spur economic activity after the quarantine measures imposed by COVID-19.

Gov. Pritzer has also confirmed that non-essential businesses such as casinos will be allowed to reopen starting July 1 at a 50% capacity.

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