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Mike Johnson November 1, 2020 3 min read
Fairmount Secures Racino License from Illinois Gaming Board
The Collinsville horseracing track has become the ninth recipient of a Master Sports Wagering License since Gov. J.B. Pritzker passed a law in June, 2019 allowing the expansion of gambling in the state. At the same time, Fairmount Park has tied up a partnership with FanDuel to launch a sports betting product.
Illinois Gaming Board Grants Fairmount Park a Sports and Casino License
Fairmount Park is close to expanding with a racino after the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) approved the Collinsville horse track to operate under a Master Sports Wagering License. Effectively, Fairmount Park now has a status of a property where casino-style games and sports betting is allowed, although the property hasn’t started offering such just yet.
The latest decision is a natural evolution of previously undertaken attempts by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to see the local legislation covering gambling at horse racetracks expand to other verticals of the experience.
Something that Fairmount Park’s leadership has also been pushing for in a bid to secure additional revenue and especially now that the pandemic has weighed down financial results.
Fairmount Park Eager to Tackle Declining Revenue and Diversify
Commenting on this development, Fairmount Park president and general manager Melissa Helton said that horseracing was a dying breed, with interest declining, and the racetrack in urgent need to diversify its portfolio.
Fairmount was excited at the news making an official statement that the approval allowed the property “to take the next steps towards our racino casino.” The Facebook statement continued:
“We will be able to offer entertainment from live horse racing, sports wagering, full casino gaming and new and exciting dining opportunities, all at one location.”-Fairmount Park
Fairmount has teamed up with FanDuel according to documents submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board, which listed the racetrack as “Fairmount Park, Inc. FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing,” as reported before.
Expanding with traditional sports betting is another important driver of revenue for the company which is one of several in the Metro East Area to consider an alliance of this kind. DraftKings, FanDuel’s main competitor, previously signed a partnership with Casino Queen and launched a dedicated sportsbook there.
FanDuel would have had to wait 18 months to enter by using an online only application, a prerequisite for any company that wishes to operate without teaming up with a physical local venue.
In the end, the sportsbook opted to partner with Fairmount Park instead and follow a more conventional entry into the market, as revealed by the recent IGB meeting.
Illinois Acting Pro-actively to Cushion Revenue Slumps
The Masters Sports Wagering is the ninth to be issued by the Illinois Gaming Board since the expansion bill kicked off. Gov. Pritzker made it possible for horseracing tracks to apply for casino and sports betting licenses by passing a law back in June 2019.
With Illinois taking on multiple measures to make sports betting more accessible, the latest approval by the IGB to allow for racetracks to transition to racinos is a show of foresight in keeping the state competitive and local gambling venues evolving.
Illinois has proved a desirable market for a number of companies including PointsBet, which rolled out its offer in the state back in September. In the same month, Kindred closed a deal with Penn National Gaming guaranteeing it a two-pronged entry into both Ohio and Illinois.