Keys To Par-A-Dice? FanDuel Relocates Online License, Opens Door For BetMGM Illinois

Posted By Joe Boozell on March 1, 2021 - Last Updated on March 2, 2021

FanDuel Sportsbook has officially transferred its sports betting license from Par-A-Dice Casino to FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing.

Formerly known as Fairmount Park, FanDuel announced the rebranding in November.

Illinoisans who opened up the FanDuel Sportsbook app on Monday were greeted with the below message, which prompted users to accept the new terms that will transfer their account:

“Par-A-Dice Casino” used to appear on the top lefthand corner of the app in Illinois, but it no longer does.

We knew this was coming since November, so it may not seem like significant news on the surface.

But it’s a crucial domino for another sports betting operator hoping to get into Illinois.

This opens the door for BetMGM in Illinois

Now that FanDuel is no longer occupying the Par-A-Dice Casino license, that means another operator can take it.

Barring a shocking twist, that will be BetMGM.

BetMGM sportsbook in Illinois is a pending sports betting applicant, per the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) website. It has been since September.

But prior to this, it didn’t have a retail partner to use for market access. Now, it does.

BetMGM has an existing partnership with Boyd Gaming, which owns Par-A-Dice Casino. From a 2018 press release:

Under this partnership, MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming will both have the opportunity to offer online and mobile gaming platforms – including sports betting, casino gaming and poker – in jurisdictions where either Boyd Gaming or MGM Resorts operate physical casino-resorts and online licenses are available. Under this market access agreement, each company will have a path to expand their online and mobile gaming presence across 15 states.

FanDuel and DraftKings are the sports betting market leaders in Illinois and the US. BetMGM is considered to be in the next tier with the likes of William Hill and Barstool sportsbooks.

FanDuel will still operate retail sportsbook at Par-A-Dice

Here’s where things get a bit confusing. Even though BetMGM is likely to use Par-A-Dice Casino to gain market access, FanDuel will still run Par-A-Dice’s retail sportsbook.

Illinois only allows one mobile skin per entity, which is why the Par-A-Dice license is now open. However, FanDuel is still allowed to run the retail sportsbook.

FanDuel Publicity Director Kevin Hennessy confirmed that fact to PlayIllinois in November.

We’re seeing something similar play out with Barstool and Unibet. Unibet secured Illinois market access via Argosy Casino Alton, but Argosy will use Barstool as its retail partner.

There will also be a Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Aurora and possibly the Hollywood Casino Joliet.

The Illinois sports betting market is starting to take form.

When will we see BetMGM in Illinois?

It’s all up to the IGB now. There is a board meeting next week, where BetMGM could technically be approved.

Of course, that would only happen if the FanDuel finalization was the only thing left for IGB to consider. We don’t know if that’s the case.

But considering when BetMGM applied, it seems likely that it will launch in Illinois within the next few months.

BetMGM is currently available in New Jersey, West Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Tennessee, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Big things ahead for Illinois sports betting

Illinois posted a $491.7 million sports betting handle in December, a number that should rise as more operators join the market.

Barstool and BetMGM are two of the most prominent brands out there that aren’t currently in Illinois. However, Barstool is hoping to go live in IL by March Madness, and BetMGM appears close.

Illinois currently only has five online sportsbook operators, and it’s still the No. 4 sports betting market in the US. With a few new additions, it has a great chance to leapfrog Pennsylvania for the No. 3 spot.

Of course, that hinges on Gov. JB Pritzker continuing to waive the in-person registration requirement. If he does, brands such as Barstool and BetMGM can have immediate success in the Land of Lincoln.

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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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