A few weeks ago, we talked about an announcement by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan regarding the legality of online fantasy sports in the state. As sports fans who are proud to call Illinois home, the Attorney General’s determination that Illinois residents cannot participate in pay-to-play fantasy sports without breaking the law has directly impacted many of us at OVC, INC., along with millions of others around the state. Our first post on the subject mentioned that two major players in the online fantasy sports industry had filed suit against the Attorney General, claiming that her interpretation of the state’s gambling laws is incorrect and that the games should be officially declared legal. While similar battles are underway in other states, including New York and, most recently, Texas, the cases in Illinois are on the fast track to the courtroom, which at least one trial expected to begin in Cook County by mid-summer.
Just before Christmas, Ms. Madigan issued an advisory opinion that daily fantasy sports games violate the state’s statutes regarding gambling. As pay-to-play games for cash prizes, her letter indicated, fantasy sports games rely primarily on luck and performance of professional athletes well beyond the fantasy participants control. Therefore, she sees the games as illegal under current Illinois law, and asked host sites to warn Illinois residents of the illegality.