Illinois Supreme Court rules fantasy sports a game of skill

Fantasy Sports

A statute dating back to the early 1800s cannot be applied to daily fantasy sports betting, Illinois’ highest court has ruled Fantasy sports, the court ruled, are games dominated by skill, not by chance.

In April 2016, Colin Dew-Becker and Andrew Wu competed in a fantasy NBA contest with FanDuel. They each paid $109 — a $100 wager and $9 fee to the company. Wu’s team scored almost double the points Dew-Becker’s team did, making him the winner.

Dew-Becker filed a lawsuit three days later to recover his bet. Under a centuries-old Illinois law called the Loss Recovery Act passed in 1819, one year after Illinois became a state and 40 years before the Civil War those on the losing end of an illegal wager have a legal avenue to get their money back.

For that to be a possibility, however, that money had to be lost while gambling. The state Supreme Court, after consulting recently-published peer-reviewed studies, ruled that while nothing in the act’s language omits internet contests from its purview, daily fantasy sports bets do not fit the definition of gambling as dictated by law.