Sports betting was set to drop in Illinois back in March … just before the pandemic hit. Since then, not only have things largely been at a standstill, there have been a lot of questions about what online options would eventually be available for sports betting, given that in-person efforts were going to be impacted for a long time.
8/21/20 UPDATE: The DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook app, now available AGAIN for mobile download! In-person registration has been lifted through 9/19/20.
With DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook now joining the Illinois online sports betting market far sooner than originally expected thanks to its partnership deal with Casino Queen located in East St. Louis.
Bettors can now register with DraftKings clicking here.
Some background is necessary on something that is going to become an increasingly important topic in the sports world in the months and years to come.
While DraftKings has been highly visible in states where online sports betting is already legal, Illinois sports betting law prohibits online-only operators from launching in the state during an 18-month moratorium, which again was previously due to begin ticking back in March. This period was designed to give land-based owners a head start in the mobile market, in effect leaving online sports betting titans such as DraftKings, and chief rival FanDuel Sportsbook, on the outside looking in until at least December 2021.
This provision included in Illinois betting law, named SB 690, is viewed by several industry experts as a “penalty box” – maybe even “payback” – for companies like DraftKings and FanDuel previously running daily fantasy operations that were interpreted as illegal by former Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan.
Thus, DraftKings Sportsbook, which has gained immense popularity, laid some plans to work within the law the state has set up, prompting its surprisingly expedited early-August launch.
DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook’s Path Into Illinois
For those paying attention to the Illinois online sports betting landscape, it has always been a matter of when – not if – DraftKings would eventually arrive in Illinois. Many believed that day would arrive much sooner than the end of the penalty box provision, so this latest development isn’t exactly a stunner for those of us who’ve kinda been paying attention to this stuff behind the scenes.
The length of DraftKings’ market-access deal with the Casino Queen is currently unknown but allows one of the biggest brands in sports betting to control its retail and online operations.
Previously, BetRivers, the online and mobile offering of Rivers Casino located in Des Plaines, was the only available online app for Illinois sports bettors. DraftKings has joined the party, and many expect other competitors such as FanDuel and PointsBet to join the party.
Potentially Perfect Timing For DraftKings
In theory, the timing couldn’t be better for DraftKings’ arrival in Illinois, particularly following some tough months for the state’s sports betting market. Well, almost.
In early June, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker suspended the state’s 18-month in-person registration requirement that mandated online sportsbook users physically register at a retail casino location. Due to lingering concerns regarding a still evolving pandemic, Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-41, allowing bettors to sign up online while averting needless and risky in-person exposures.
However, Pritzker reinstated the provision. Though you can sign up online, the process comes with a caveat in that it must be finalized in-person at the DraftKings Casino Queen location. For those located in Chicago, that will require quite a trip down to East St. Louis.
Still, DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook should still see some strong activity early thanks to an unprecedented run of action on the sports calendar. If sports leagues are able to continue restart plans following lengthy shutdowns, the online sportsbook enters the Illinois sports betting market at an otherwise perfect time.
Major League Baseball’s regular season is in full swing as the NBA and NHL conduct postseason play. This action will serve as a precursor to the 2020 NFL regular season, college football, and marquee events such as the Kentucky Derby and Masters, assuming those events get off the ground this year.
In other words, DraftKings has arrived in Illinois with during a time with a crazy amount of action – even if the in-person requirement throws a little bit of cold water on the launch. At any rate, thanks to the deal with Casino Queen, DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook is now live in Illinois much sooner than anybody initially expected.
Access the DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook app by clicking here.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).