The tug-of-war to make daily fantasy sports (DFS) legal in the Prairie State is apparently far from over due to some last minute legislative maneuvering on Thursday.
Voting 32-22, the Illinois Senate has passed HB3655 which approves fantasy sports regulations and, in effect, would legalize DFS offerings in the state. The Senate, in allowing DFS in Illinois, has tasked the Illinois Gaming Board to oversee the contests. The measure also forbids anyone under 21 from participating in the DFS.
But soon after DFS received its approval from the state Senate, Chicago Democratic Sen. Antonio Munoz – a known supporter of the HB3655 – surprisingly filed a motion to reconsider, which put the measure in limbo.
The Associated Press reported that Munoz did not offer any explanation why he decided to ask the Senate to reconsider its decision, especially now that there is a little over a week left in the 2016 legislative session.
With the proposal put on hold, Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul, the bill’s sponsor, called on his colleagues to consider people in their districts who play the games. Illinois is the third-largest market for the contests with 2 million people playing the contest, according to the Fantasy Trade Association.
“What we’re doing with this bill is making sure that we’re responsive to the thousands of citizens who play these fantasy sports and making sure we don’t criminalize those citizens who exist in each and every one of our districts,” he said.
On the other hand, Sen. David Luechtefeld, a Republican from Okawville, continues to oppose the legalization of the DFS in Illinois, as he claims that the bill is being railroaded in the Senate. He also argued that the proposed regulations for DFS are insufficient and questioned the cost of enforcement.
Luechtefeld said lawmakers should have more time to consider the measure.
“I guess I’ve said to myself, ‘What’s this about? Are we jumping at something right now that we really need to take a longer look at it?'” the senator said.
At present, Illinois is one of the states fighting for the legalization of DFS in the United States. In March, the governors of Virginia and Indiana signed legislation to regulate the industry. Kansas has also legalized daily fantasy sports. In all, 35 states have introduced legislation addressing daily fantasy sports, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Industry giants Draftkings and FanDuel, two companies that have been fighting for DFS regulation in the United States, have expressed support to the DFS legislation in Illinois.