FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing is officially open for business.
St. Louis Cardinals legendary shortstop Ozzie Smith placed the ceremonial first bet on Monday, as FanDuel opened up its second retail sportsbook in Illinois.
There is no horse racing at the facility yet, but that is on track to begin on April 27. There are set to be 53 racing days at the track in 2021, wrapping up on Sept. 6.
Formerly known as Fairmount Park, FanDuel announced its plans to partner with Fairmount back in November. Earlier this month, FanDuel officially transferred its sports betting license to the track.
Here’s what we know about the newest Illinois retail sportsbook.
FanDuel St. Louis-area sportsbook features
The second FanDuel retail sportsbook features a 98-inch LED video and 24 65-inch LED video displays.
It also has five live betting windows, a large sports ticker and 22 self-service betting kiosks.
So many great thing are happening! Little by little, day by day! Can't wait to share with you! pic.twitter.com/MRkZ749fod
— FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing (@FanDuelstl) March 11, 2021
It is located in Collinsville, which is just outside of St. Louis.
Argosy Casino Alton and DraftKings at Casino Queen are also in the St. Louis area, the most coveted Illinois market outside of Chicago. Especially with Missouri dragging its feet on a sports betting bill.
Now, FanDuel has a footprint in the area. And based on the “Wizard of Oz” touch, it is clearly prioritizing the St. Louis region.
Here’s what FanDuel Group CEO Matt King said about the partnership in November:
“We are delighted to partner with Fairmount Park to continue bringing high quality horse racing and soon additional entertainment experiences via our sportsbook to the region. Fairmount is an iconic state landmark which we plan to modernize bringing innovative technology and entertainment offerings only FanDuel can deliver.”
The facility will eventually be a full “racino,” but we don’t expect that to come to fruition until late 2022.
There will eventually be two racinos in Illinois. The other will be at Hawthorne Race Course, where PointsBet currently operates a retail sportsbook.
Hopes for a third Illinois racino were recently dashed when Churchill Downs announced it intends to sell Arlington International Racecourse.
FanDuel will still operate Par-A-Dice retail sportsbook
FanDuel initially secured market access by partnering with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria.
As such, it operated the retail sportsbook at Par-A-Dice. And FanDuel will continue to do so despite transferring its sports betting license over to the horse track.
Illinois only allows one mobile skin per entity, so another sports betting operator is free to take Par-A-Dice’s license. With that said, FanDuel is still able to run its retail operation.
We expect that BetMGM Illinois will eventually assume the Par-A-Dice sports betting license, but it may not have a retail presence when it launches.
FanDuel’s place in the Illinois market
FanDuel has emerged as a serious player in the Land of Lincoln, and this launch should only help its standing.
It was the No. 2 operator by handle in December and January, and led all Illinois sportsbooks in revenue in November, December and January.
DraftKings led Illinois in handle in those three months, but has yet to lead in revenue for an entire month.
When gaming expansion passed in IL in 2019, it looked like FanDuel and DraftKings would have a tough time cracking the market based on the law.
There was supposed to be 18 months of in-person registration. But due to COVID-19, Gov. JB Pritzker has continued to suspend the registration requirement.
That’s paved the way for the two US market leaders to replicate their success in the Prairie State.
And by the looks of it, FanDuel and DraftKings show no signs of slowing down.