You're Not Welcome: Illinois Bill Seeks to Prevent Entrance by Draftkings, FanDuel

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

Should an Illinois sports betting bill pass as written, legal court challenges are sure to follow.

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The Cook County Record notes that a current version of a state bill looks to prevent both FanDuel and Draftkings from entering the Illinois market.

“…As the amendment’s proponents have made abundantly clear in their committee testimony, the purpose of the amendment is not to seriously assess the suitability of potential operators, but instead to exclude two specific competitors who are leading the market in other states,” the attorneys for the fantasy sports sites wrote. “We believe FanDuel and DraftKings could make a strong claim that this selective targeting of winners and losers is not permitted by the Illinois or U.S. Constitutions.”

This is just one of a handful of obstacles that stand in the way of passage.  Pressure from the sports leages to impose a controversial "integrity fee" is enough to declare this bill Dead On Arrival.

The amendment to the bill excluding Draftings and Fanduel is supported by the owner of Des Plaines’ Rivers Casino.  That property already has a cozy relationship with Rush Street Interactive and SugarHouse Casino (operating in both NJ and PA).

FanDuel and Draftkings currently occupy over three quarters of the New Jersey sports betting market despite there being more than a dozen sites online, each of which is now fighting over crumbs.

From the Cook County Record:

The legal question centers on an “advisory opinion” authored in 2015 by former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. In that opinion, written in response to an inquiry from Democratic former State Rep. Scott Drury, Madigan said she believed FanDuel and Draft Kings and other online fantasy sports like them, which allow fantasy sports players to win money on a daily or weekly basis, were gambling interests operating illegally in Illinois.

In response to that opinion, the fantasy sites filed suit, asking the courts to declare they were not illegal gambling operations. After years of litigation, the state and fantasy sports sites settled the matter without a ruling, allowing the sites the right to again sue the state should any authority use the Attorney General’s opinion to seek to prosecute them for illegal gambling.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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