The daily fantasy sports industry has a real chance to gain legal clarity in Illinois with just two days left in the legislative session.
The latest on Illinois in DFS
While time is short in the statehouse — adjournment is scheduled for Wednesday — DFS appears to have a viable path to legalization.
The effort came to light when lawmakers filed proposed amendments to a number of bills, which include online gambling and daily fantasy sports regulation.
Which bill, if any, might move forward is not clear. In fact, a fourth, yet unknown bill could also be a vehicle for DFS language. But on Tuesday morning two bills with fantasy sports language — S 1805 and S 1667 — advanced out of the House Rules Committee to the House Executive Committee.
Little had happened with DFS bills during the legislative session to date before the recent flurry of amendments.
The over-arching story in the legislature is an attempt to pass a budget, something lawmakers have failed to do in recent years.
Why online gambling and DFS?
That’s also not clear. But we do know that Rivers Casino outside of Chicago has been the main interest pushing against DFS regulation in the past.
Rivers’ parent company is also interested in online gambling, as it is involved in New Jersey online gambling and advocating for legalization in Pennsylvania. (Both of those states, for what it’s worth, are also advancing DFS regulation.)
Right now, Legal Sports Report understands the most tenable path forward seems to be an online gambling/DFS hybrid bill. But DFS alone may also have the legs to pass.
Backstory on DFS in Illinois
Illinois has been one of the flash points for DFS legality in the United States:
- Rep. Michael Zalewski became one of the first lawmakers to consider regulation of the DFS industry in the spring of 2015.
- State Attorney General Lisa Madigan said that DFS constituted illegal gambling in Illinois; she also said she expected DraftKings and FanDuel to leave the state.
- DraftKings and FanDuel went to court to fight that opinion, although little has happened in the court case since it was launched. Both operators still serve Illinois.
- A DFS bill failed to reach the finish line in 2016.