Illinois Senate Surprises Some By Passing DFS and Gaming Bill

Illinois DFS gains steam

Daily fantasy sports regulation has been making impressive strides over the last year and a half. On Wednesday, Illinois was latest sites to be added to the mix of states flirting with official legalization. The state surprised many when it passed an online gambling bill that also would cover DFS.

The bill passed the Illinois State Senate by a vote of 42-10. Despite the huge victory for proponents, the legislation still must be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the governor. Despite the remaining hurdles, industry observers are suddenly cautiously optimistic that Illinois could be the next state to regulate online gaming and daily fantasy sports.

The House of Representatives, which briefly took up the matter on Wednesday, is expected to reconvene and have fresh look at the bill sometime at the end of the month. Illinois has significant motivation to take up the matter given the state’s poor financial state and desire to raise additional tax revenue.

There are also concerns about the legal situation in Illinois. In 2015, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told top daily fantasy sports sites that they would need to restrict Illinois residents unless the General Assembly gave their endorsement of the game. Previous efforts to pass legislation has failed.

Despite the opinion, DraftKings and FanDuel both currently accept players located in Illinois.

What is in the Illinois DFS and Online Gambling Bill?

The bill, called H 479 was originally a daily fantasy sports-only bill, but online gambling was added within the last few days.

As part of the current language of the bill, both online and Illinois casino companies would be able to operate within the state. In addition to daily fantasy sports, online casino and poker games would also be offered. It is believed that adding online gaming to the legislation would help appease existing operators in the state. Racetracks would also be able to offer online casinos.

If enacted, daily fantasy sports and online gambling would be overseen by the Illinois Gaming Board, which currently regulates brick and mortar casinos and gambling machines in the state.

Opponents of the legislation have argued against the “massive” expansion of gambling and criticize the tax rate. Operators would be taxed at a rate of 5%-15%, which is projected to raise between $29.5 and $42 million. DFS is expected to make up about 10% of that figure.