COLLINSVILLE, Ill. — New York-based fantasy sports and sportsbook operator FanDuel Group on Monday opened a new sportsbook in the Metro East — the third to open in the region in the last year — as it aims to capitalize on the start of March Madness.
FanDuel held an “opening ceremony” and started taking bets Monday afternoon for its new retail sportsbook at Fairmount Park in Collinsville, Illinois. In November, Fairmount owner William Stiritz and Associates and FanDuel agreed to a partnership to expand the horse track and rebrand it as “FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing.”
As part of that deal, FanDuel said it planned to make a “multimillion-dollar investment,” part of which includes opening the sportsbook. The new facility spans about 2,500-square-feet and includes a 98-inch video screen, 24 65-inch video displays, five live betting windows and 22 self-service betting kiosks.
FanDuel paired the opening date of its Metro East sports book with the first week of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, which starts Thursday. More than 47 million Americans are expected to make wagers on the 2021 March Madness tournament, according to the American Gaming Association.
“In the retail sports betting industry, you’ll always see a lot of openings the week of March Madness, the week before the NFL starts. (It’s) a 'strike-while-the-iron-is-hot' type of thing for retail sports betting where we like to get open before the big events take place,” said Jeff Lowich, FanDuel’s senior director of retail operations.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Lowich said the sportsbook at Fairmount will open with several safety protocols in place. Those include floor markings to encourage social distancing, social distanced seating, plexiglass barriers between the self-service kiosks and disinfecting measures.