Fantasy sports sites sue in Illinois court to declare games legal

Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:28pm EST
 
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By Suzanne Barlyn

(Reuters) - Leading daily fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel filed lawsuits in Illinois on Thursday asking a judge to declare their games to be legal, a day after the state's attorney general outlawed them as gambling.

The opinion Wednesday by Attorney General Lisa Madigan was the latest blow to the two companies, which are also fighting a legal battle in New York to permanently continue doing business there.

Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel have said they would continue to operate in Illinois, despite Madigan's opinion, pending the outcome of their lawsuits, which were filed in Cook County and Sangamon County circuit courts, respectively.

Madigan was not immediately available to comment on the lawsuits.

FanDuel brought its action with another fantasy sports company, Head2Head Sports LLC, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, which adds a layer of complexity to the Illinois case.

FanDuel games are daily in nature, while Head2Head’s are operated on a seasonal basis. The two companies asked in their lawsuit for a declaration that both types of games are legal.

In November, New York’s attorney general acknowledged that seasonal fantasy sports, which require skill to succeed over a period of months, are lawful, while daily games are based on chance and, therefore, are illegal gambling in the state.

Illinois is the third-largest market for DraftKings and FanDuel, with 6.7 percent of their users, according to Eilers Research, LLC.   Continued...

 
A DraftKings logo is displayed on a board inside of the DFS Players Conference in New York November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson