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In deal with sports wagering firm, Casino Queen rebrands as DraftKings at Casino Queen

In deal with sports wagering firm, Casino Queen rebrands as DraftKings at Casino Queen

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Casino Queen set to close amid coronavirus concerns

The Casino Queen in East St. Louis, photographed on Friday, March 13, 2020, will close early next week amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak making its way through the country. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

EAST ST. LOUIS — The Casino Queen is partnering with national sports betting operator DraftKings and will rebrand as “DraftKings at Casino Queen,” the companies announced Thursday.

“We believe this collaboration will enhance the Casino Queen iconic brand while introducing the sports betting industry leader to our state,” Terry Downey, president of DraftKings at Casino Queen, said in a statement.

The Casino Queen, across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis, had been the only casino in the region not affiliated with a large gaming corporation. The deal, whose financial terms weren’t disclosed, will allow DraftKings to be part of both a physical sportsbook and offer its popular online wagering app in the state. The app could give the Casino Queen a leg up on competitors.

With the legalization of sports betting in Illinois last year, casinos rushed to license sports books at their properties. The Argosy Casino Alton was the first to win a license from state regulators, but the opening of the sports book was cut short in March when casinos were forced to close to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Illinois allowed casinos to reopen July 1.

Sports wagering apps are likely to bring in the bulk of revenue. Last year in New Jersey, the vast majority — 84% — of $4.58 billion in sports wagers were online. The Argosy’s parent company, Penn National Gaming, in January bought a major stake in popular sports news website Barstool Sports as part of a branding plan for its online wagering app. The companies are targeting a launch of the app in August or September, according to gambling trade publication reports.

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