What sites are available to DFS fans in Chicago and the rest of Illinois?
- DraftKings boasts a range of sports, including fantasy basketball, golf, baseball, soccer, football, hockey, and even Nascar, MMA, and the CFL, and features free as well as pay-to-enter games. Until midnight December 31, 2019, DraftKings is offering a €10 free play to new registered users who follow a referral link and who deposit €5. It also offers other inducements to new users at different times of year.
- FanDuel, like DraftKings, is a fantasy sports platform and features free as well as pay-to-enter games. Between them, FanDuel and DraftKings have 90 percent of the daily fantasy sports market. FanDuel is offering a €5 to new users who make an initial deposit of €5. It also offers other inducements to new users at different times of year.
- Fantasy Draft caters for the DFS needs of MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA, and NFL fans. Entry fees for prize games habitually range from as low as $0.01 to over $300. From July 2019, its head-to-head (H2H) games between players are ‘rake free’, meaning the winner gets 100% of the pot.
All DFS websites offer expert advice from their pundits on players to pick and avoid – and have a strong social media presence.
It is possible to play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Chicago – as it is across Illinois as a whole – and all the major DFS operators, including bellwether sites DraftKing and FanDuel, allow players from Illinois to enter their games.
But, in common with a number of other states, such as Georgia, Florida, and Texas, no law explicitly states that fantasy sports are legal. DFS operators and fans, therefore, regard Illinois as a legal grey-area state – a situation not helped by an unfavorable legal opinion from the State’s Attorney General in December 2016.
The situation had been slightly complicated by State lawmakers’ current attempts to legalize sports betting in general in early 2019. In June, following months of delays and sticking points, a capital funding bill passed that included provisions for gambling, including a casino in Chicago and permission for retail and online sports betting.
Governor JB Pritzker indicated he would waste no time signing the bill into law.
For a while, it had seemed as if online DFS operators – particularly giants of the industry DraftKing and FanDuel – that had shifted into sports betting where it was already legal would be locked out of Illinois altogether. But an amendment to that effect was ruled out, as was another that included a blackout on online sports betting.
However, although online betting will be legalized, both DraftKing and FanDuel – who have dominated the New Jersey online betting market since it was legalized – will be forced to sit on the sidelines for the first 18 months, allowing other operators to build a bridgehead.