Now that FanDuel Sportsbook has found a potential loophole in Illinois’s system for mobile sportsbooks to operate, it appears DraftKings may begin to follow suit.

According to sports betting reporter Jill R. Dorson with Sports Handle, both DK and FD Sportsbook are looking to seek early entry into Illinois without having to wait the full 21 months. The so called “Penalty Box” law that was put into place was to allow local retail sportsbooks to have a head start on national mobile operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

 

How Can DraftKings/FanDuel Enter Illinois Without Waiting?

FanDuel was first to find a potential loophole in the system as Sports Handle reported in March that they are looking to purchase Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville, IL. For the cost of $20 million, mobile sports betting applications would be able to purchase a license to operate in Illinois. By acquiring the race track, FanDuel would be able to offer both retail and mobile sports betting without having to pay the $20 million fee.

As for DraftKings, Dorson reports that they have applied for a management services license for sports betting at the end of April. In her report, she points to three possible partners for DK:

  • Harrah’s Joliet is owned by Caesars, which has an agreement with DraftKings to offer “market access for online gaming products.”
  • Jumer’s is owned by Delaware North, which partners with IGT in West Virginia, and IGT partners with DraftKings at Mississippi’s Scarlet Pearl. An inquiry to Delaware North went unanswered.

One unique footnote is the timing of Illinois’ legal sports betting operation. Just weeks after sportsbooks finally opened, the CoronaVirus pandemic forced all brick-and-mortar casinos to close, consequently wasting an opportunity for mobile sports betting to take place and build taxable revenue back into the state.

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