Iconic Illinois Racetrack To Be Expanded

US gaming leader FanDuel Group announced on Monday a multi-million investment into Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville, Illinois.

This is the first time the group invests in a race track. The 95-year-old Fairmount Park will be rebranded as FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing. In addition to the new horse racing events and retail sportsbook, FanDuel plans to upgrade the property as part of a larger modernization plan to drive economic growth in the area.

The company said it will work with William Stiritz and Associates to develop the location, awaiting regulatory approval and licensing from the Illinois Gaming Board.

In the past years, the Fairmount Park suffered from the emergence of more riverboat casinos in the Saint Louis region, with a decline in the number of racing dates.

“This partnership will allow the park to remain an important economic driver for the surrounding communities.” Melissa Helton, general manager of Fairmount Park said.

Horse Racing Event Receive Funding

Horse Racing: 37th Breeders Cup World Championship
Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

FanDuel Group and horseracing broadcaster TVG Network also announced on Monday the funding of Fairmount Park’s flagship event, the $250,000 St. Louis Derby, which has not run since 2006 due to financial hardships.

FanDuel CEO Matt King said the group is “delighted to partner with Fairmount Park to continue bringing high quality horse racing and soon additional entertainment experiences via [its] sportsbook to the region”. He also called Fairmount Park an “iconic landmark” that will be greatly enhanced by FanDuel innovative technology.

Only three horse racing venues are currently operating in Illinois, including the Collinsville facility, which is the only one in the Chicago metropolitan area. Despite the absence of visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Fairmount Park still held races.

Fairmount Receives Sports Betting License

Horse Racing: 37th Breeders Cup World Championship
Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In the beginning of November, the Fairmount Park Racetrack became the ninth venue to receive the Master Sports Wagering License, after approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. The Collinsville horse track was therefore allowed to expand with a racino. This is a direct result of the law passed in June 2019 by Governor J.B. Pritzker, which allows racetracks to apply for sports betting and casino licenses.

“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 had said in a statement.

FanDuel said on Monday that the racetrack received approval to host 53 live racing days in 2021 that will allow simulcast wagering.

FanDuel Group is a subsidiary of top betting and gaming provider Flutter Entertainment. Headquartered in New York, FanDuel has offices in Scotland and across the US – in California, Florida, New Jersey and Oregon. The group sponsors various horse racing including the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the TVG Pacific Classic.

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund are some of the charities for the horse racing industry that FanDuel supports.

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