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Fantasy Sports Legislation Is Dead In Illinois For Now

Mike Zalewski

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 Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, is the measure's sponsor. He said because of the controversy, he's not going to call the plan for a vote this month. It's too much of a distraction with lawmakers struggling to reach a budget deal, but he says he will probably try again 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.

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