In every US state that offers online gambling, or those setting up industries, there are rules and regulations to follow. Some states allow operators to get started quickly, while others have a long and arduous process to begin. In Illinois, there is a long waiting period for online-only sportsbooks and top-rated operator DraftKings is hoping to avoid it. The brand may have found a loophole they can use to get started sooner rather than later with sports betting services in the state.
An update at the website of the Illinois Gaming Board shows that a company owned by DraftKings applied for a management services license. This was Crown IL Gaming LLC and the application as filed on April 28th. DraftKings has not stated publicly what they are trying to do, but certainly they are making moves to get started as quickly as possible.
Sports betting was legalized in Illinois in the summer of 2019. However, laws of the state include a bad actor clause where companies that offered daily fantasy sports in the state before an opinion was written by Attorney General Lisa Madigan are considered to have taken part in illegal gambling.
This provision requires companies like FanDuel and DraftKings to wait 18 long months before they can apply for online only wagering licensing. FanDuel has been busy in the state as well, having already secured a land-based partner. They will be working with Boyd Gaming, having signed an agreement with the company back in August 2018. Boyd currently operates the Par-A-Dice casino in the state.
Delay May Be Inevitable
Even though operators like DraftKings may find a workaround, they are still at the mercy of the Gaming Control Board. If board members so choose, they can delay a decision on operators who fit the bad actor clause for as long as they like.
However, it makes more financial sense to let them get started. States around the US are suffering now due to the coronavirus pandemic. Casinos along with other non-essential businesses are shut down and money is not coming in. With online sports betting, Illinois would have a new revenue source, which would be helpful as the local economy tries to start the recovery process after the pandemic.
For DraftKings, the company still needs a land-based partner to get started in Illinois. They have not signed any deal yet and most of the casino owners in the state have already cut deals. However, the brand could still work with the Casino Queen, Jumer’s Casino or the Harrah’s Juliet.
Caesars already has an agreement with the brand to provide market access to online gaming products. This may be their way to offering services in Illinois. For now, the brand will have to wait and see how the board reacts to their application and if they will still be required to wait the full 18 months before offering services or if any leniency will be allowed.