Legal Sports Report

Illinois Daily Fantasy Sports

Illinois is one of the states where the stakes have been high for the daily fantasy sports industry in recent years.

Is it legal to play DFS for real money in Illinois? There appears to be no problem for DFS players who want to take part in contests in the state, despite the attorney general saying it is illegal gambling under state law.

Is it legal for DFS operators to take customers in Illinois? There’s not a straightforward answer to that question, but most sites do still accept players in the state.

For a snapshot of which DFS sites allow players from which states, click here.

Daily fantasy sites for Illinois players

Nearly every major daily fantasy sports site serves Illinois players. That includes the “big two” of DFS: DraftKings and FanDuel.

Other major sites such as Yahoo accept players in Illinois.

History of daily fantasy sports in Illinois

Illinois is one of the earliest states to delve into daily fantasy sports, both in terms of its legality and possible regulation.

The effort to regulate paid-entry fantasy sports started way back in the spring of 2015. However, legislation has not made it to the finish line in the past two years. A bill was sidelined in 2016.

Several new bills popped up in 2017.

All of those legislative efforts came with the backdrop that Attorney General Lisa Madigan opined that DFS constitutes illegal gambling under state law in late 2015.

Is daily fantasy sports legal in Illinois?

The opinion from Madigan does not mean that DFS is illegal, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

DraftKings and FanDuel are fighting that opinion in court, although there has been little movement in the case. In the interim, DFS sites operate in a legal gray area.

Players should be able to assume that they are at no legal risk to play DFS; the onus would be on operators.