Illinois Daily Fantasy Sports Bill Dead For Now; Focus Returns To DraftKings, FanDuel Lawsuits

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Illinois DFS bill time ticking session ending

A bill to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports in Illinois has been tabled for the current legislative session.

Rep. Micheal Zalewski said he was not calling DFS legislation for a vote during a House Judiciary Committee hearing held on Sunday evening. That means the legislature will not attempt to pass the bill before adjourning on Tuesday.

The legislature had been considering whether to clarify existing state law and render moot a negative opinion issued by Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The failure of the bill to be passed puts the focus back on court battles between Madigan, DraftKings and FanDuel.

What happened, or didn’t, on Sunday for DFS

A contentious hearing of the same committee took place on Wednesday, and the bill was not put up for a vote then. Instead, the committee considered the bill — H 3655 — in the context of an informational hearing with witness testimony.

Zalewski spoke on Sunday, saying he was not going to call the bill for a vote in order to “fight another day.”

Up until the hearing actually happened, sources told Legal Sports Report it appeared uncertain that the bill would even be called for a vote, or that it had enough votes to pass if it were called. The decision to table the bill would appear to signal the bill would have died in the committee.

Zalewski said on Sunday that it was “unfortunate” what the debate over DFS regulation had turned into in Illinois.

Things had apparently turned nasty privately and even publicly in the legislature on DFS, given some of the comments at Wednesday’s hearing. The casino lobby in the state had emerged as a vocal opponent to the bill, and allegations of lobbying impropriety had further muddied the waters for the bill’s chances.

Last week, the bill was passed by the Senate in a close 32-22 vote.

More from Zalewski on DFS

Zalewski had spoken passionately in defense of the legislation — which he started working on more than a year ago — this past week and again on Sunday.

“I think this is good public policy, and I think we are making an ill-advised decision if we don’t address this as a General Assembly,” Zalewski said in the hearing. “That being said, I think the world of my colleagues and I think the world of the work that they do every day. And if they come to me, as they have, and say ‘We’re just not there yet,’ I have to respect that as well.

“So what I am going to do is, for the moment, not pursue a vote on House Bill 3655. I’m going to continue to have individual conversations with my colleagues. I am going to explain to them why this is good public policy. And I am going to live to fight another day.”

What’s next for Illinois DFS?

The bill was not brought up for a vote. Because it was not defeated, it means it could come up during a summer session (if called by the legislation), or in a “veto session” later on. It’s not clear how likely either of those scenarios are right now.

What is clear is that the court cases in which DraftKings and FanDuel are challenging Madigan’s opinion are now back in play. The trial date had been set previously on June 27th.

DraftKings and FanDuel have entered into settlements with some attorneys general in varying manners in recent months, including one in New York while a legislative effort is considered.