DFS Legislation under Consideration in Illinois

by Jim Hall

Illinois becomes the latest state to consider the legalization and regulation of daily fantasy sports with new proposal.

Daily fantasy sports has become the new hot gambling option in states across the US. Players love DFS contests and over the past few years, states have been deciding if they deem the activity to be legal or illegal. Many states have decided to rule the activity as an illegal one while others have passed legislation to protect consumers who enjoy DFS gaming by instituting regulations on operators. Just recently, Illinois became the latest state to consider expanding their gambling industry to include DFS gaming.

New Bill Introduced

In Illinois, a new bill was introduced that would see online daily fantasy sports legalized and regulated in the state. The bill was introduced within the General Assembly and does have opponents so it will not be an easy task to see the legislation approved. Opponents feel that the legislation will have a negative impact on other gambling options that are currently legal in the state.

The bill has to be approved by legislators from a legal standpoint as well as considered by the Illinois Gaming Board. The new bill would replace an opinion made in 2015 by the Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The AG deemed DFS as an illegal activity based on local gambling laws. The new bill would change this opinion, allowing for operators like DraftKings and FanDuel to provide services legally.

Details of the Bill

The details of the bill are still being revealed but it has been stated that protections are in place to protect under-age individuals. If the bill is able to pass within the General Assembly, an age limit of 21 or older will be set for those taking part in DFS gaming. Operators of DFS contests will be prohibited from playing their own contests, including employees of the company.

An independent audit will have to be conducted each year by an outside company to ensure the operators are offering services within the requirements of the bill. For most states, a requirement has been enforced where operators have to put company funds in one account while player funds are in another, thusly protecting members interests. One could assume that this legislation will require this as well.

Representative Michael ZalewskiRepresentative Michael Zalewski is the chief sponsor of the measure who commented on the bill by stating that regulation of daily fantasy sports contests should be put in place to protect local consumers from the effects that are related to gambling activities. Zalewski stated that daily fantasy sports are operating in a regulatory vacuum. Some websites have been operating freely and regulations need to be put in place to protect consumers.

The Representative feels that with daily fantasy sports betting offered in a legal and regulated environment, the state will be able to see additional revenues. Taxation of such gaming is also something to consider and the Rep feels that potential revenues could be used to assist schools or other community services. Local legislature could basically choose how to spend the funds. Zalewski feels that there is enough untapped potential within DFS gaming that the $14 billion shortage in budget funds for the state to date could be filled in.

Players of DFS gaming will now have to wait and see if legislators decide to pass this bill or if another bill will be introduced that will include DFS gaming and have the potential to pass. Overall, the attempt is a step in the right direction to see daily fantasy sports legalized and regulated in the state.