Fantasy Sports Proposal Appears To Have Stalled

May 30, 2016

In February, Rep. Michael Zalewski talked about his legislation that would regulate fantasy sports contests. On the left is Peter Schoenke, chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. On the right is Tony Giordano, co-founder of SideLeague.
Credit NPRIllinois

A measure that would legalize fantasy sports in Illinois is dead for the remainder of the spring legislative session. 

The plan passed the Senate, but stalled in the House after a legislator accused a fantasy sports lobbyist of offering charitable donations in exchange for votes. 

State Representative Michael Zalewski, a Democrat from Riverside, is the measure's sponsor. 

Zalewski says because of the controversy, he's not going to call the plan for a vote this month.

He says also says it's too much of a distraction with lawmakers struggling to reach a budget deal. 

But he says he will probably try again, as early as this summer.

"My expectation is that we will continue to have to deal with this because the companies are under no legal obligation to stop operating in Illinois, " he said. 

The two major fantasy sports companies -- Fan Duel and Draft Kings -- issued a statement last week saying they reject the implication that they would offer a bribe. 

Both companies are challenging Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's advisory opinion that classifies the online betting games as illegal gambling. ​