Illinois Casino Rebrands as “DraftKings at Casino Queen”

  • DraftKings is planning to launch retail and online sportsbooks with the East St. Louis casino
  • Casino Queen initially partnered with DraftKings at the end of June
  • DraftKings recently got approval from the Illinois Gaming Board to operate sportsbooks
Casino Queen
Casino Queen in Illinois has expanded its partnership with DraftKings by renaming itself “DraftKings at Casino Queen.” [Image: Flickr.com]

Name change

DraftKings has announced that the Casino Queen in Illinois will now be known as DraftKings at Casino Queen. The sports betting and fantasy sports operator originally partnered with the East St. Louis casino in June.

As part of the relationship, DraftKings plans to open a retail sportsbook at the facility, as well as launch an online sportsbook in the state. Casino Queen has not yet gotten approval to start offering sports betting, though.

DraftKings’ chief business officer Ezra Kucharz spoke of the excitement within the company to be working with Casino Queen. He said: “Through this collaboration, we have the opportunity to change how fans engage with the sports they love, while becoming a part of the fabric of Illinois’ rich sports culture.”

Customers will consider only one choice for gaming and sports betting; DraftKings at Casino Queen.”

The president of the casino, Terry Downey, talked about how the relationship will help boost the “iconic” Casino Queen brand: “Customers will consider only one choice for gaming and sports betting; DraftKings at Casino Queen.”

Sports betting in Illinois

Sports betting was legalized in Illinois last year as part of an overall gambling expansion bill that also allowed for the development of six new casinos in the state. Retail sportsbooks opened for the first time in Illinois on March 9; BetRivers became the first online sportsbook in the state to launch on June 18.

As part of this legislation, it appeared that sports betting companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel would be excluded from the legal sports betting sector for the first 18 months because of a “penalty box” clause that was built into the legislation for online-only sportsbook operators. The likes of DraftKings and FanDuel, however, managed to find a way around this restriction by finding local partners. 

Casino Queen had already been granted a master sports betting license by the Illinois Gaming Board when it announced a multi-year partnership deal with DraftKings. As part of this deal, DraftKings will get an unspecified share of the revenue. DraftKings was also awarded a temporary operating permit last week, before this latest announcement was made.

DraftKings spreading its reach

DraftKings was initially the daily fantasy sports leader before jumping into the sports betting world when the Supreme Court ended the federal ban on the activity in May 2018.

Ever since then, it has expanded across the United States, having operations in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana, and Colorado. It also recently went public through a reverse merger with the Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corporation and SBTech in April.