Breaking: FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook To Launch In Illinois

Posted By Joe Boozell on August 19, 2020 - Last Updated on March 23, 2021

If a page on FanDuel Sportsbook’s website is any indication, FanDuel plans to enter the Illinois sports betting market via a partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria.

Industry sources have linked FanDuel to Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville, so the news comes as a bit of a surprise. But based on FanDuel’s relationship with Par-A-Dice parent company Boyd Gaming, it’s not shocking.

Here’s what we know right now.

FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook touted on website

The page, which has been redirected since publication, included the word “hidden” in the URL and is likely not intended to be forward-facing yet, but still clearly spells out the connection between the Boyd property and the FanDuel app. In addition to the co-branded FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook logo, the page also offers directions on how to sign up for an account, including the step that involves traveling to East Peoria to register the account in-person at the casino.

PlayIllinois reached out to FanDuel for comment but did not receive a response immediately.

Par-A-Dice and FanDuel both have their sports betting licenses. Located in East Peoria, Par-A-Dice is a little bit less than a three-hour drive from Chicago. By comparison, Collinsville and East St. Louis (home of DraftKings at Casino Queen) are about 4 1/2 hours away from Chicago. That’s crucial considering Illinois’ in-person registration requirement.

Had FanDuel gone with Fairmount, it would have been competing with DraftKings in the St. Louis market. Considering DraftKings has already been live there for weeks, FanDuel would have been starting at a disadvantage.

Boyd Gaming, FanDuel longtime partners

Boyd Gaming and FanDuel have had a working relationship since 2018, and the tandem has launched four sportsbooks in nearby Indiana and Iowa since then. The FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort near Philadelphia is also a Boyd venture.

“FanDuel Group will market Boyd Gaming properties through its existing daily fantasy sports service and future interactive sports betting and gaming services, while Boyd Gaming will promote FanDuel’s products to its customer base,” the press release read at the time.

So what prompted the Fairmount rumors in the first place? Especially considering Boyd and FanDuel’s parent company, Flutter Entertainment, have partnered in many other states?

You can blame the somewhat convoluted sports betting laws in Illinois, which aimed to keep the two big daily fantasy sports companies from getting into the market at the same time as the major Illinois casino companies.

The thought was the way to work around the rule keeping online-only sportsbooks out of the state for 18 months would be to buy a property in Illinois like Fairmount. However, once DraftKings worked around the issue by simply changing the name of Casino Queen to “DraftKings at Casino Queen,” the Boyd option came back to the forefront. If the casino’s branding can change to include the FanDuel name, it should be able to meet state regulations as DraftKings and Casino Queen did.

Fairmount Park does have a sports betting license application pending, but the soonest that application can be approved is at the next Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) meeting on Sept. 17.

Illinois competition heating up

FanDuel will likely be the third online betting app to go live in Illinois behind BetRivers and DraftKings. It will be the fifth retail option to hit the market. PointsBet (which has partnered with Hawthorne Race Course) should be coming soon on the mobile side as well. William Hill’s retail book is open, but its mobile plans are still unclear.

And while East Peoria may seem like no-mans-land in terms of location, Peoria and North Peoria are the seventh and eighth-most populous cities in Illinois. It’s also about an hour from Springfield, the No. 6 city. The drive from Chicago, while still inconvenient, isn’t quite as daunting as East St. Louis.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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