DraftKings team with Illinois VGT operator, FanDuel open retail sportsbook


Sports betting operator FanDuel has opened a retail sportsbook at its Illinois casino partner, while rival DraftKings has signed a marketing partnership with one of the state’s biggest video gaming terminal (VGT) operators.

On Thursday, FanDuel began taking in-person wagers at its new three-window, six-kiosk sportsbook at Boyd Gaming’s Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. Ironically, given that Thursday marks the kickoff of a new National Football League Season, the first in-person wager was on the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series. (Seems Da Bears are no longer da bomb.)

FanDuel launched its online betting app late last month, which to accommodate Illinois’ persnickety branding rules bears the unwieldly title of FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook. For the time being, Illinois bettors can sign up for the betting app without having to register in person at the Par-A-Dice casino, but it’s anyone’s guess if Gov. J.B. Pritzker will allow that convenience to persist after September 19.

The uncertainty surrounding mobile registration may explain why DraftKings – which launched its Illinois betting app in early August – announced a deal earlier this week with Accel Entertainment, which operates VGTs at 2,335 locations across the state. The exclusive deal is intended “to drive awareness of and retention for sports betting” among Accel’s VGT audience.

Accel will “promote exclusive DraftKings content and programming across all Accel marketing channels, including Accel’s in-location digital display screens.” Accel says its host venues – restaurants, bars, convenience stores, truck stops, etc. – will benefit from the extra foot traffic that sports bettors will bring.

Among the DraftKings content that will feature on Accel’s digital display screens will be advertisements “including mobile app signups, sports betting lines and promotions.” These ads are already running, so if Pritzker reimpose mandatory in-person registration next weekend, DraftKings will likely count itself fortunate to have used the time wisely.