DraftKings’ Illinois Sports Betting Partner Rebrands ahead of Launch

Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois is set to rebrand as DraftKings at Casino Queen as part of online sports betting operator DraftKings’ plan to enter the state’s wagering market, news emerged this past Thursday.

The rebranding will include the brick-and-mortar casino as well as its future digital gambling operations, it also became known.

DraftKings announced its partnership with Casino Queen in June. The company teamed up with the land-based casino in a bid to circumvent a penalty box provision in Illinois’ sports betting law specifically aimed at DraftKings and rival FanDuel that prevents them from obtaining online-only licenses to operate in the state until after 18 months after the first wagering licenses were granted by the Illinois Gaming Board.

It should also be noted that the rebranding of Casino Queen is actually a workaround to emergency branding rules recently proposed by state regulators that require casinos to “only offer Internet and mobile sports wagering under the […] casino’s brand or a brand owned by certain related entities with an 80% ownership interest.”

The rules continue that “displaying multiple brands (including the brands of third-party service providers) is expressly prohibited.”

Under DraftKings’ deal with Casino Queen, the sports betting operator will be able to run a retail sportsbook at the casino and offer mobile betting experience.

When Will DraftKings Go Live in Illinois?

DraftKings obtained a temporary operating permit for sports betting from the Illinois Gaming Board earlier this month. As for Casino Queen, it was one of the seven land-based casinos that received four-year master sports betting licenses from the regulator in mid-June.

It is still unknown when exactly DraftKings will go live in Illinois since Casino Queen still needs to obtain provisional sports betting approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. However, the sports betting operator will likely launch its offering as soon as that final approval is granted.

Of their partnership with Casino Queen, DraftKings Chief Business Officer Ezra Kucharz said that through this collaboration, they will be able to “change how fans engage with the sports they love, while becoming a part of the fabric of Illinois’ rich sports culture.”

Terry Downey, President at DraftKings at Casino Queen, said that they are thrilled to welcome DraftKings to the St. Louis area and that they believe their alliance with the sports betting operator will enhance the Casino Queen iconic brand while introducing the sports betting industry leader to our state.”

Currently, there is only one betting app operating in Illinois – BetRivers. Rivers Casino Des Plaines launched the product last month after Governor J.B. Pritzker temporarily lifted a requirement for in-person registration at physical sportsbooks in order for a bettor to be able to place bets digitally.

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