GROVE REPORT: The Illinois Surprise

WELL, THAT WAS EXCITING! In the waning days of the session, the legislative paths of iGaming and DFS converged in Illinois, resulting in a flurry of last-minute legislative activity that culminated in the Senate passing a bill containing both. But the House failed to act before adjourning.

The state’s legislative session has now been artificially extended to allow pols a shot at coming up with a budget solution. It will be late June before the House returns to vote on anything. The consensus among stakeholders is that the House is very unlikely to call the bill for a vote. With that said, the bill is alive and positioned to move, which is certainly more than we could have said about Illinois a month ago.

WHICH DOES DFS WANT FIRST, the good news or the bad news?

The good: Boom Fantasy’s recent announcement of a closed seed round and acquisition of DraftPot. Paired with PPB’s purchase of DRAFT, it’s a signal that the vertical is moving through a much-needed consolidation and restructuring, and that investor / M&A purse strings are loosening.

The bad: The legislative calendar is winding down and the industry has secured fewer wins than expected, especially in bigger states. And the Derby Wars ruling is, at least by some views, a potential landmine that could further impede the industry’s march toward legal clarity.

NEXT WEEK COULD PROVE CRITICAL for New York and Pennsylvania’s iGaming efforts. There are only a handful of working days remaining on NY’s calendar, so without some immediate movement it could be difficult for poker to move through the Assembly.

As for PA, we could see the House amend and ship back the bill passed by the Senate. Read our exclusive interview with Rep. Dunbar, who is likely to among the driving forces behind the House version, for more insight into what the amended bill will look like (cliff’s notes: lower taxes, lower fees). What the Senate does from there is anyone’s guess.

Chris Grove

@OPReport / LinkedIn

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