Northwest Harold: Support for Fantasy Sports Legislation

Back in December, when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an advisory opinion that daily fantasy sports companies constitute illegal gambling, it was what she didn’t do that struck us.

She didn’t shut them down.

We’d like to think it’s because there is a realization that fantasy sports, and daily fantasy sports companies, aren’t going away. Fantasy sports – and the money that comes with it in your fantasy football league – and daily fantasy sports are a part of sports culture. An estimated 58 million people participate in some form of fantasy sports, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, and regulating that out of existence just doesn’t jibe with reality.

We wanted to see some common-sense regulation in this industry. Our stance long has been against the expansion of gambling in Illinois, but although we agree fantasy sports is gambling, this is a different situation altogether.

That’s why we encourage the passage of HB 4323, also known as the Fantasy Contests Act.

The Illinois Gaming Board would oversee the contests and operators who violate the law would face fines. If the gaming board has the power to punish those who violate the law, that’s a big deal. Operators also would be required to pay licensing fees based on their revenue. Players must be at least 21 to participate. Players must also operate with just one account with a company and can deposit a maximum of $3,000 quarterly.