Fantasy Sports Regulations Floated In Illinois

SPRINGFIELD | Fantasy sports betting would be legal in Illinois under a proposal outlined by Chicago area lawmakers Tuesday.

While other states are considering banning the popular online games, state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said his plan would ensure that companies like FanDuel and DraftKings are properly regulated.

The measure would prevent players from overplaying and draining their accounts, allow the sites to check players for unpaid child support or taxes and promote audits of the companies.

It also would bar people under the age of 18 from playing.

Zalewski and co-sponsor Kwame Raoul, a state senator from Chicago, said the proposal would provide a balance of protections for fantasy sports players.

“Everyone’s got a smart phone. Everyone plays these games,” Zalewski said. “We need a thorough debate over how to best provide this popular entertainment and protect players in Illinois.”

“Fantasy sports are growing in popularity, and we want to be sure we provide a framework that allows them to continue to succeed and grow while ensuring they are run to the right standards to protect players,” Raoul said.

In a statement, FanDuel CEO and co-founder Nigel Eccles said the company “has always focused on maintaining the integrity of our games and the trust of our players. We welcome the opportunity to work with Rep. Zalewski and lawmakers in Illinois to safeguard consumers, introduce best practices that the entire fantasy industry can adhere to, and ensuring that sports fans across Illinois can continue to play fantasy sports.”

The proposal comes a week after DraftKings and FanDuel hired lobbyists to represent their interests in Springfield. And, it comes just days after the Illinois Gaming Board said it was reviewing whether the games are allowed.

In Nevada, regulators announced earlier this month that the two big fantasy sports operations were gambling operations that need a license to operate there.

Zalewski said the proposal is likely to be discussed in next spring’s legislative session.

The legislation is House Bill 4323.

Follow Kurt Erickson on Twitter @Illinois_Stage