AG Says Illinois Daily Fantasy Contests are Illegal

chicago

Illinois is the latest state to join the effort against daily fantasy sports. The Attorney General of Illinois has issued a ruling that daily fantasy sports contests offered to its residents are illegal under Illinois law.

In her decision, Lisa Madigan stated, “It is my opinion that daily fantasy sports contests constitute illegal gambling under Illinois law.” Madigan noted that all games of skill or chance are illegal when played for real money, except where exempted.

A full copy of the opinion issued by the Office of the Attorney General can be seen here.

Will DraftKings and FanDuel Leave State?

At the time of this writing, there has been no official word on the immediate plans of top DFS sites DraftKings and FanDuel to operate in the state, although Madigan expects DFS sites to adjust their terms and conditions and leave the state.

Initial statements from FanDuel and DraftKings urged a legislative solution to allow Illinois 13.5 million residents to be allowed to play Illinois daily fantasy sports for real money. DraftKings indicated they intend to seek a “judicial resolution” to continue operating in the state.

“As it does so, it will continue to abide by all relevant laws and will follow the direction of the courts. Pending that resolution the company will preserve the status quo.”

Daniel Wallach, an attorney and expert in daily fantasy sports law, expects DraftKings to file a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order.

Illinois Latest Site to Put Industry Under Microscope

The state joins others such as New York and Nevada that have put pressure on the industry over the last few months.

Daily fantasy sports sites have left Nevada while an emergency stay in New York has given DFS sites some breathing room while the legal process plays out. Many others are looking to regulate the contests, which have exploded in growth over the last couple years.

Illinois state representative Scott Drury said legislation introduced by fellow representative Michael Zalewski may now move forward.

“To me, it didn’t make sense to consider legislation when we didn’t know what the current status of daily fantasy sports is in Illinois. Now that we know, according to the attorney general, that it’s illegal, we can make a serious attempt to address the issue.”

Full Statements from DraftKings and FanDuel

DraftKings

“We respectfully disagree with the Attorney General’s opinion and the reasoning behind it. We believe daily fantasy sports, which Illinois residents have been playing for years, are lawful under state law. We also believe, as the Attorney General has said, that this is a policy question for state legislators to address. That is why we look forward to working with lawmakers, like Representative Mike Zalewski and others, who wish to enact thoughtful and common-sense legislation that protects consumers’ rights to compete, while also adopting appropriate consumer protections. The company intends to promptly seek a judicial resolution of its right to offer daily fantasy sports contests to Illinois residents. As it does so, it will continue to abide by all relevant laws and will follow the direction of the courts. Pending that resolution the company will preserve the status quo.” – David Boies, counsel to DraftKings and Chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP

FanDuel

“Chicago may be the best sports town in the country. It’s a city — and Illinois is a state — that plays fantasy sports like almost no other. “The League” is even set in Illinois. So why the Attorney General would tell her 13.5 million constituents they can’t play fantasy sports anymore as they know it — and make no mistake, her opinion bans all forms of fantasy sports played for money — is beyond us. Hopefully, the legislature will give back to the people of Illinois the games they love. A sports town like Chicago and a sports loving state like Illinois deserve nothing less.”