DraftKings, FanDuel Still Operating In Illinois Despite AG's Decision

By Features FOXBusiness


DraftKings and FanDuel will remain operational in Illinois despite state Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s classification of daily fantasy sports contests as a form of illegal gambling, the companies confirmed Thursday. Madigan told both companies Wednesday to cease offering contests in the state and to alter their terms of use to include Illinois on its list of prohibited states.

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DraftKings attorney David Boies said the company will “preserve the status quo” in Illinois until state courts come to a formal decision on whether daily fantasy sports contests are legal.

“The company intends to promptly seek a judicial 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,” Bois said in a statement.

FanDuel is still active in Illinois as of Thursday, the company confirmed.

“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,” a FanDuel spokesperson said in response to Madigan’s decision.

DraftKings and FanDuel are privately-owned companies that are each valued at more than $1 billion. The daily fantasy sports operators argue their contests are games of skill, not chance, and are thus exempt from federal bans on other types of online gambling.

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Madigan examined the legality of daily fantasy sports at the behest of two of the state’s Democratic legislators. State law “clearly declares that all games of skill or chance, when played for money, are illegal gambling in Illinois,” Madigan’s opinion said.

“Absent legislation specifically exempting daily fantasy sports contests from the gambling provisions, it is my opinion that daily fantasy sports contests constitute illegal gambling under Illinois law,” Madigan wrote.

Legal proceedings regarding daily fantasy sports are underway in several states. Nevada regulators banned daily fantasy sports companies from operating in the state until they obtain proper gambling licenses.

In New York, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman classified the games as a form of illegal gambling and ordered DraftKings and FanDuel last month to cease operating in the state. Earlier this month, New York Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez granted Schneiderman’s request for an injunction, but an appeals court issued a stay that allowed both companies to continue operating while the case is under appeal. The next hearing in that case is scheduled for January 4.

Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX), the parent company of FOXBusiness.com, owns a stake in DraftKings.

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