Daily fantasy sports operators will continue to operate in Illinois after negotiating a legal cease fire with the state’s attorney general.
Two days before Christmas, Illinois AG Lisa Madigan released an opinion that DFS was a gambling activity and thus illegal under state law. Madigan’s opinion said she expected both DraftKings and FanDuel to cease operating in her state but both operators filed legal papers in a bid to block Madigan’s efforts.
On Tuesday, Madigan’s office announced that it had reached a deal with DraftKings on an expedited court schedule of their legal fight. Madigan’s office has until Jan. 22 to file its response to DraftKing’s legal complaint, while both parties will have until April 28 to complete the discovery phase and a trial (if necessary) will commence on June 27. (In the court system, six months is an ‘expedited’ timeline.)
More importantly, at least in the short term, is that both parties agreed “not to pursue any other action against the other party” concerning the legality of DFS in the state “except before this court.” DraftKings will therefore be able to continue to operate in Illinois in the interim, while hoping that state legislators can get busy on amending the necessary statutes to declare DFS a legal activity.
State Rep. Mike Zalewski, who introduced DFS-friendly legislation in October, told ESPN’s David Purdum that he hoped to convince enough of his fellow state pols to pass his ‘consumer protection’ bill before the state legislature’s current session expires in May.
DraftKings issued a statement expressing its pleasure at the deal with Madigan, while expressing confidence that it would ultimately prevail when the company has its day in court. DraftKings’ legal complaint against Madigan indicated that the company relied on Illinois for around 10% of its customer base, garnering $92m in DFS entry fees and $9m in revenue from Illinois players in 2015.
FanDuel, which also filed a complaint against Madigan office last week, is believed to be negotiating a similar deal, with an announcement expected before the end of the day.