Illinois DFS bill latest

News on 30 May 2016

Illinois’s troublesome daily fantasy sports bill was effectively shelved but kept alive during a House Judiciary Committee hearing held Sunday evening to get through a heavy workload before the Legislature adjourns Tuesday.

Sponsor Rep. Mike Zalewski, who has encountered some heavy opposition from the land casino industry despite a successful passage of his bill H 3655 through the state Senate (see previous report) decided that discretion was the better part of valour and told the committee that he was tabling the bill but not calling for a vote on it.

This effectively shelves the bill, allowing Zalewski more flexibility to return to it and fight another day.

The legalisation of DFS has been plagued by opposition since the state AG, Lisa Madigan, opined that the practice was illegal in terms of state law earlier this year. Despite this, Rep. Zalewski launched a legalisation proposal which enjoyed 32-22 support in the state Senate, but encountered difficulty in the House at committee stage.

Last Wednesday an informational hearing by the House Judiciary Committee was held, but the bill was not put to a vote and failed to progress.

The issue has been further muddied by allegations of unethical conduct by a lobbyist liaising with the House Black Caucus, something which both DraftKings and FanDuel have emphatically denied, but which has allegedly been reported to legislative authorities.

The legal action filed by the DFS market leaders, who exited the Illinois market following Madigan’s negative decision, remains in progress.

Zalewski’s final words on H 3655 (for now, anyway) were:

“So what I am going to do is, for the moment, not pursue a vote on House Bill 3655. I’m going to continue to have individual conversations with my colleagues. I am going to explain to them why this is good public policy. And I am going to live to fight another day.”

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