DraftKings Asks Illinois Court to Call Fantasy Sports Legal

  • Company is challenging Madigan's opinion games are unlawful
  • Top sites facing mounting scrutiny by officials across U.S.

DraftKings Inc., one of the two main providers of daily fantasy sports games in the U.S., asked an Illinois court to overturn a finding by the state’s attorney general that the games are illegal gambling.

The stakes are high for DraftKings and FanDuel Inc. as they face mounting scrutiny over letting sports fans wager on athletes’ performance.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Wednesday advised state lawmakers that fantasy sports contests are unlawful under Illinois law. She issued her opinion as the Legislature works on a provision to exempt the games from gambling prohibitions.

DraftKings wants a court to bless the games as legal “so that the hundreds of thousands of Illinois fans who have played DFS openly and honestly for nearly a decade will know they can continue to enjoy the fantasy sports games they love,” Randy Mastro, a lawyer for the company, said in a statement Thursday.

Illinois is the latest in a growing list of states that are taking a look at the legality of daily fantasy sports. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ordered the two companies to stop operating in the state but they won an order from an appeals judge this month that allows them to keep doing business for now in their largest market.

As recently as September the companies boasted valuations of more than $1 billion.

The case is DraftKings Inc. v. Madigan, 2015CH18622, Cook County Circuit Court, Chancery Division.

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