Fantasy sports firms FanDuel and DraftKings have been handed a pre-Christmas setback after another US state ruled that their activities are illegal gambling.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan yesterday declared that the sites are breaking the laws of the state.
“It is my opinion that daily fantasy sports contests constitute illegal gambling under Illinois law,” it said in a stateement.
In response, Edinburgh and New York based FanDuel, run by Nigel and Lesley Eccles (pictured), said: “Chicago may be the best sports town in the country. It’s a city — and Illinois is a state — that plays fantasy sports like almost no other.
“So why the Attorney General would tell her 13.5 million constituents they can’t play fantasy sports anymore as they know it — and make no mistake, her opinion bans all forms of fantasy sports played for money — is beyond us.
“Hopefully the legislature will give back to the people of Illinois the games they love. A sports town like Chicago and a sports loving state like Illinois deserves nothing less.”
Illinois’s move in the sports-heavy state is the latest blow to the sites which are fighting a ban imposed in New York where attorney general Eric Schneiderman issed them with “cease and desist” notices. The ban has been lifted after a stay on an injunction, pending further action. The sites have also been banned in Nevada.
The companies argue that they are “games of skill” and are therefore exempt from the country’s strict rules on online gambling.
The distinction is irrelevant, Ms Madigan said. As a part of the documents presented Wednesday, she said that illegal gambling occurs in Illinois when a participant “plays a game of chance or skill for money.”