Illinois is one of the latest states to initiate potential legislation involving daily fantasy sports (DFS). Like a number of other states, it is not declaring DFS illegal. Rather, it is taking a very consumer protection focused approach. According to Rep. Mike Zalewski (D, Ill.), the forthcoming legislation would create standards for auditing daily fantasy companies that do business in Illinois and prohibit fantasy sports operator employees from playing in contests on other sites, in addition to other potential restrictions.
While some debate whether DFS is gambling, a number of states are mooting that debate by drafting legislation that exempts fantasy sports from the gambling laws. In 2012, Maryland passed a law exempting certain fantasy sports competitions from Maryland’s gambling laws. Earlier this year, Kansas passed a similar law. Nevada recently took a strong stance and declared that licensing is required. At least some states are trying to take a more balanced legislative approach.
Illinois’s approach, while including some unique provisions, is similar in spirit to that in some other states. For example in California, Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced a bill focusing on consumer protection, but stressed he wants the bill to be well thought out.
Increased regulatory and legislative action around DFS is a given. Assuming more states actually make clear that fantasy sports is exempt from their states’ gambling laws and take reasonable and balanced approaches to regulation, this may actually benefit the industry.