FanDuel Launches its Sportsbook in Illinois, Joins DraftKings and BetRivers

Illinois’ young sports betting market has come a long way since sports betting first launched just before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

FanDuel is officially live in the Prairie State, joining DraftKings and BetRivers as the other online books in Illinois.

Although it failed to beat DraftKings in its Illinois launch, the company — which partnered with Par-A-Dice Sportsbook in Peoria — still entered the market at a great time.

Governor J.B. Pritzker re-signed an executive order last week that allows users to sign up for sports betting remotely instead of having to visit a casino in person.

The order aids Chicago’s prospective bettors particularly well, as it saves what would be nearly a three-hour car trip to Peoria.

Last week marked the second time Pritzker signed an executive order that allowed users to register for sports betting remotely.

The first wave came in early June before the mandatory in-person requirements were reinstated on July 26.

BetRivers went live during the first window, giving it a big head start in terms of customer acquisition.

While DraftKings found itself with a week-long head start, FanDuel should still carve out its own crowd in the passionate and populous state.

Pritzker’s order will last for at least 30 days after its signing — Aug. 21 — and can be extended at the governor’s discretion.

The entrance of DraftKings and FanDuel into the Illinois market makes it even more important for operators such as William Hill, PointsBet and BetMGM to find their ways in.

If all three find a land-based operation to host an in-person sportsbook, they will avoid an 18-month delay intended to set back online-only operators while giving land-based operations a head start, as FanDuel did in its partnership with Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino.

With its launch coming now, FanDuel put itself in a position to catch Week 1 of NFL and college football, the remainder of the NBA and NHL playoffs and the rest of the MLB season.

Illinois boasts the sixth-largest population in the country and has five professional sports teams across the nation’s four major sports leagues.

With 12.7 million people in the Land of Lincoln, it’s the second-most populated state with legalized online sports betting, trailing only Pennsylvania.

With live sports back and plenty of people around to bet on them, FanDuel will surely enjoy its time in Illinois.

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