Report: Illinois House Pushes Fantasy Sports Betting Reform

The legislation would tax and regulate the fast-growing industry

A House committee advanced legislation Wednesday that looks to tax and regulate fantasy sports in Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Under the plan, oversight of the industry would be given to the Illinois Gaming Board, which currently oversees the state’s casinos, horse tracks and video machines.

Operators’ fees and taxes would be based on the revenue they generate. Application fees would also be dictated by the amount of money a company makes.

Companies making less than $100,000 in yearly revenue would be hit with a $500 application fee, while companies that bring in upwards of $10 million a year would be charged a $37,500 application fee.

In addition to this, companies bringing in revenue up to $1 million would received a 5 percent tax, while companies clearing $15 million in revenue would be hit with a 22.5 percent tax. That money would go towards education funding.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Mike Zalewski.

"My goal from the beginning has been to make Illinois a fun, safe and succesful place to play and operate fantasy sports contests," Zalewski said in a statement. "With one of the nation's strongest set of protections and an appropriate tax and license fee structure, I think we've come up with a great package to meet my goal and will work hard to win the support of my colleagues in the legislature and the governor."

He has yet to provide an estimate for how much money the new rules would generate.

Under the new legislation, fantasy sports operators would be subject to background checks and regular audits. All employees and contractors would be banned from betting and companies would not be allowed to advertise in certain places, like schools and college campuses.

Players also must be 21 years or older and would be broken up into separate skill levels based on how much they have played or won. This would limit options for less experienced players.

The bill was approved by a House judiciary panel in a 9-4 vote. It will now be sent to the full chamber for consideration. A decision could be made as soon as next week.

Fantasy sports have recently come under scrutiny in a variety of states. In Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan declared fantasy sports betting illegal last December.

Madigan has since been sued by industry giants FanDuel and DraftKings over her legal opinion, which the companies argue could put them out of business in the state.

Madigan’s office has yet to comment on the new legislation.

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