ANOTHER HURDLE FOR DAILY FANTASY SPORTS IN ILLINOIS (Update)
Illinois Democrat files a new bill classifying DFS as illegal gambling.
Illinois DFS fans already disappointed by the recent shelving of Rep. Mike Zalewskis proposal to legalise the genre have more bad news to digest this week following the filing on Wednesday of a new House bill declaring daily fantasy sports illegal gambling.
Launched by Democrat Rep. Scott Drury the language of the measure is that anyone who establishes, maintains or operates a website or app to make wagers on a game would be charged with as a Class A misdemeanour on the first offence.
The second offence and any subsequent offense would be regarded as a Class 4 felony.
Recalling that state AG Lisa Madigan has opined that DFS constitutes illegal gambling in terms of Illinois state law, Rep. Drury told local media this week that his motivation is to protect minors.
He said he was concerned that even if daily fantasy sports sites are highly regulated and operate under a minimum age requirement, there’s nothing stopping an underage child from logging into his or her parents’ account and placing bets.
“Daily fantasy sports are a highly-addictive product,” Drury said. “No one is really talking about the issues around it, like that it’s dangerous to minors. The marketing techniques are taken right out of the book from big tobacco where they target underage kids and make them lifelong users. The ads for these products are everywhere.”
Rep. Drury said clarifying the legal status of daily fantasy sports is necessary at the legislative level.
Rep. Zalewski used Facebook to launch an immediate response to Drurys proposal, saying:
“Fantasy sports, including Sunday fantasy football this fall, are in jeopardy in Illinois. New legalization would criminalize fantasy football, and now that gives the Legislature a clear choice on this issue.
“I believe that a clear choice is outlined in House Bill 3655: the nation’s strongest consumer protections for players, the opportunity to put sorely needed money in our education system, and the message to an emerging growth industry – with 2 million Illinoisans participating – that we want you here.
“I’ve been working on a comprehensive policy solution for the last eight months and I will continue to fight for the principles outlined in HB 3655.”
Peter Schoenke, president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, said Zalewskis shelved bill carried more promise that Drury’s proposal and in a statement he asked Drury to reconsider his bill and work on Zalewski’s instead.
“Rep. Drury’s proposed legalization seems to take two steps back at a time when the Senate has passed legalization and the House continues to debate the current proposal by Rep. Zalewski and Sen. Raoul, which has incidentally been called the strongest consumer protection bill in the nation,” Schoenke said.
DFS author and designer Jay Correia said told local reporters:
“His [Drurys] bill essentially outlaws most modern forms of fantasy sports and it makes offering such contests a crime. He simultaneously criminalizes skill-based games, but yet has a specific carve-out for season-long fantasy sports. Most fantasy-loving Illinoisans know the only real difference between season-long, partial season, daily fantasy, and real-time fantasy sports is the duration of the contest.”