On Wednesday, the Attorney General of Illinois, Lisa Madigan, decided to rule that daily fantasy sports should be considered illegal gambling. This ruling was based on the current state law in Illinois. Madigan has not ordered the DFS sites to shut down operations in the state, as Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York decided to do a few weeks ago. It is believed that Madigan will recommend action in regards to DFS but it is not clear what she will call for.
The ruling makes Illinois the 8th state to rule that daily fantasy sports are illegal gambling. Madigan did mention DraftKings and FanDuel in her ruling but did not specify them in particular as the New York AG did. Madigan decided on her ruling based on the law as gambling is defined in the state. In the Criminal Code of Illinois it states that a person commits gambling if they knowingly play a game that is of chance of skill for money or another item of value, unless excepted in a subsection of the law.
The key factor is that sites like FanDuel and DraftKings have claimed legality based on being a game of skill. However, Madigan says this clarification does not matter at all in Illinois. According to Madigan, the statutory language is straightforward and unequivocal. The argument of skill vs chance, is immaterial as Madigan states the subsection 28-1(a)(1) encompasses both.
The Illinois AG also pointed out that there is legislation in the General Assembly, in both chambers, that will legalize DFS. She feels if DFS were legal, there would not be a need for a bill to be approved. FanDuel has responded to the ruling by Madigan, stating that they do not understand why the AG is ruling that players cannot enjoy fantasy sports and hope that legislature will give back the games to the people of Illinois.
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