Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) announced a deal giving the company access to Illinois’ online gaming market. GNOG will launch sports betting in the Prairie State using its license, and it plans to launch iGaming if and when Illinois allows it.
The market access comes in the form of a definitive agreement with Danville Development, LLC. Danville Development is a joint venture between Wilmot Gaming Illinois, LLC and GN Danville, LLC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Golden Nugget.
GNOG plans to build a casino in Danville, Illinois once it receives all regulatory approvals. Danville sits about 140 miles from Chicago, right next to the Indiana border.
Thomas Winter, President of GNOG, said: “We are thrilled to gain market access in Illinois, the 5th most populous US state and the largest to have regulated mobile wagering to date. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to further increase our US footprint and deliver on our ambitious growth plans. We look forward to bringing our award-winning online offerings to the Prairie State.”
A New Sports Betting Player
Illinois currently has five online sportsbooks:
Even more are preparing for launch. Golden Nugget’s entry into the market will add another industry juggernaut into the mix, giving Prairie State players yet another top-tier sports betting option.
Golden Nugget doesn’t yet have a launch window for Illinois, but it’s safe to assume the company will move quickly. Illinois sports betting market is on the rise, and it recently surpassed neighboring competitor Indiana.
Kickstarting Casino Construction
The Illinois law that legalized sports betting also authorized the construction of six new casinos in the state. GNOG plans to capitalize on this opportunity. The company will provide a $30 million mezzanine loan to Danville Development development to contribute to the construction of the planned casino.
The casino will be branded “Golden Nugget” and host a Landry’s steakhouse.
GNOG’s casino would be the twelfth in Illinois, though other companies are making moves to build new properties in the state as well. In the next few years, Illinois’ casino total could be as high as 15.
Tilman J. Fertitta, owner and CEO of Golden Nugget and GNOG, said: “This is Golden Nugget’s first joint venture on a casino project, and we are honored to be the one selected amongst numerous bidders for this opportunity by the Wilmot family after a highly competitive process. Having the ability to grow the Golden Nugget brand in Illinois in both the online and land-based markets is an exciting opportunity.”
Online Gaming On The Horizon?
Illinois has been laser-focused on sports betting legislation since the channel first launched in the state. There’s been no sign of online casino or iGaming legislation in the state, but GNOG’s move to the state lays some important groundwork. GNOG has a strong online casino presence in New Jersey and plans to launch in Pennsylvania. Both markets are important iGaming landscapes, and GNOG is an industry leader. If Illinois eventually legalizes online casinos, GNOG could very well emerge as an undisputed market leader.