Illinois Legislature Calls An Audible On Daily Fantasy Sports Bill Before Deadline

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Illinois DraftKings bill

An effort to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports in Illinois is trying to get to the finish line before the legislature adjourns this month.

On Wednesday, a Senate committee passed a version of DFS legislation, the Associated Press reported.

Illinois is a battleground state where DraftKings and FanDuel have active cases regarding their legality. A failure to get legislation passed would mean the sites’ status could be up to the courts.

What’s going on with the Illinois DFS bill

The situation was in flux this week, as proponents of the bill appeared to be trying whatever it takes to get it to the governor’s desk. The action shifted to the Senate after all consideration of a DFS bill took place in the House to date.

After some behind-the-scenes machinations, DFS started its forward move with H 3655, a gutted House bill in the Senate that went through an executive session in the Senate on Wednesday.

Whatever ultimately happens with the DFS bills comes just two weeks before the state legislature is scheduled to adjourn. It represents a real attempt to get the bill passed — or at least to an up-or-down vote — rather than allowing it to die on the vine.

State DFS bills have been sidelined in other jurisdictions when they have met enough opposition that a bill would be defeated. But the stakes are far higher in Illinois, a large state by population for DFS users that has a negative AG opinion on the books.

Earlier, Legal Sports Report obtained a copy of a new Senate bill — S 469 — which can be seen here and appears to be identical to the latest version that appeared in the House. The bill was a shell that is being repurposed to carry the DFS legislation.

But now, H 3655 appears to be the bill to keep an eye on.

Opposition to the DFS bill

DFS bills have faced varying amounts of opposition in states this year — including almost none at all in some instances. But the pushback in Illinois has been fairly public, and includes the commercial casino industry in the state.

Tom Swoik of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association offered this statement to the LSR about its thoughts on DFS regulation:

“This legislation should require DFS betting to be held to the same standards, consumer protections and regulations that all other gaming licensees’ betting products are currently required to meet. If the Illinois General Assembly is serious about opening up Internet gaming beyond the lottery, then it must be done in a comprehensive manner with a level playing field, rather than a carve out that gives preference and special treatment to DFS.”

The Chicago Crime Commission and the Illinois Harness Horsemen have voiced their concerns this month as well.

The Illinois DFS timeline

The daily fantasy sports industry has been on the state’s radar for more than a year.