Gaming exec places his bet on a 'legislative stalemate' between casinos, tracks, online brands
The most recent amendment proposed for Illinois' sports betting bill would push out online and mobile sports wagering companies, but one managing director at a California gaming industry research firm says that should come as no surprise, considering where the idea came from.
Chris Krafcik, managing director of political & regulatory markets for Eilers & Krejick Gaming in Irvine, Calif., said that online fantasy sports brands have performed quite well in newly opened sports betting markets. So well, in fact, that they could present a formidable threat to brick-and-mortar gaming establishments such as casinos and racetracks.
"In New Jersey — the most closely watched such market — DraftKings and FanDuel have amassed an 80-percent share of the online sports betting vertical, according to our research," Krafcik said in an interview with Prairie State Wire. "Therefore, it's not surprising to us that some of the stakeholders want legislation that would make it hard, or perhaps even impossible, for DraftKings and FanDuel to enter the Illinois sports betting market," Krafcik said.
Stakeholders such as Illinois' Rivers Casino owner Neil Bluhm, who first proposed the amendment that was introduced to lawmakers by state Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island). The bill's fifth amendment would only allow for casinos and horse racing tracks physically located in the state to operate legal sports betting, essentially banning mobile and online sports betting in Illinois.
Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) introduced House Bill 3308 in February and proposed four earlier amendments before Rita's.
Krafcik said Illinois gaming stakeholders like Rivers Casino are well aware of the success of online betting businesses in other states, and of the strategic advantages like brand power and customer databases that these platforms could grab hold of in Illinois. He added that DraftKings and FanDuel already have powerful allies in Illinois.
"The former has a sports betting partnership agreement with Caesars Entertainment, and the latter with Boyd Gaming," Krafcik said. "But there are also powerful forces in the state which want to keep DraftKings and FanDuel out of the market. So, we see very clear potential here for the lobbying dust-up around DraftKings and FanDuel to result in a legislative stalemate."