Plan would let casinos in on fantasy sports betting

  • The Illinois Senate passed a plan to regulate daily fantasy sports companies. Casinos would be allowed to operate fantasy sports contests, too.

    The Illinois Senate passed a plan to regulate daily fantasy sports companies. Casinos would be allowed to operate fantasy sports contests, too. Associated Press File Photo

 
By Mary Hansen
mhansen@dailyherald.com
Updated 5/19/2016 6:34 PM

Illinois casinos would be allowed to set up daily fantasy sports operations online under a new plan pushed by DraftKings and FanDuel to make sure their games are legal here.

The Illinois Senate narrowly approved the measure, which would set the minimum age to play at 21 years old and levy a 5 to 30 percent tax based on annual revenue. But a motion filed by a Democratic senator has frozen the plan for now, meaning it might be prevented from moving to the Illinois House indefinitely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lawmakers have been wrangling for months over rules for the booming industry, which counted about 192,000 players with paid accounts in the state last year, according to a government commission. Casino representatives criticized the plan, saying the regulations are weak compared to what their industry must comply with and the proposal is too narrow.

"If you're going to have a conversation about legalizing Internet gaming, that should be a comprehensive law," said Paul Gaynor, who represents Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Some casinos would like to see a plan that would allow other kinds of Internet gambling.

Lawmakers sponsoring the bill said that while they've tried to compromise by allowing casinos in on daily fantasy sports, this legislation isn't the place for sweeping changes to gambling laws.

"With any bills that come anywhere close to gaming, everybody has their parochial interests that they pile on," said state Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the plan.

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He said legislators were responding to Attorney General Lisa Madigan's opinion issued in December that daily fantasy contests are illegal gambling and should be regulated under gaming laws.

Still, not all senators agreed.

"I would suggest that if we are going to expand gaming to this magnitude in the state that we have a comprehensive bill, a bill that holds everyone accountable to the same standards," said state Sen. Laura Murphy, a Democrat from Des Plaines.

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