- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Daily fantasy sports betting is illegal gambling under Illinois law, Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Wednesday.

Madigan’s opinion, sought by two Democratic legislators, points out that the debate over whether the popular contests involve skill or luck is irrelevant. Illinois outlaws both.

The law “clearly declares that all games of chance or skill, when played for money, are illegal gambling in Illinois,” Madigan, a Democrat, wrote.

Madigan’s decree follows decisions in New York and Nevada to ban the online sites for the same reason. Democratic Rep. Mike Zalewski of Riverside, who is pushing legislation to legalize and regulate the contests, said that while he disagrees that the pastime involves gambling, the ruling provides “more clarity.”

Zalewski said in a statement that he’s aiming for regulations “to allow Illinoisans to continue to play these contests and provide the necessary strong consumer protections for safe, fun play.”


NEW YORK (AP) - Odell Beckham Jr. is going to have to serve his one-game suspension.

Hearing officer James Thrash on Wednesday upheld the suspension for multiple violations of safety-related playing rules after hearing an appeal by the New York Giants wide receiver earlier in the day.

Beckham will miss the game Sunday night at Minnesota. The second-year Pro Bowler is barred from team meetings; attending or watching practices; attending Sunday’s game; or having contact with any club personnel except to arrange off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation. He will be reinstated next Monday.

The league suspended Beckham on Monday for his conduct last Sunday against Carolina, when he drew three personal foul penalties, including one for a diving helmet-to-helmet hit on Panthers cornerback Josh Norman.


STOCKHOLM (AP) - Two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling is retiring at the age of 31 due to illness.

The big-serving Swede, who ended Rafael Nadal’s 31-match winning streak at the French Open in 2009, has never fully recovered from contracting glandular fever in 2011.

Soderling, who rose as high as No. 4 and has a 310-170 win-loss ratio, reached the final at Roland Garros in 2009 and 2010.

He had hoped to return to competitive action next year.

Soderling wrote on the Swedish website tennis.se: “I want to inform you that I have decided to end my career as a professional tennis player … I’ve realized that I will not be healthy enough to be able to play tennis at the level I demand of myself.”

He won 10 singles titles.


NEW YORK (AP) - Dirk Nowitzki has moved ahead of Shaquille O’Neal into sixth place on the NBA’s career scoring list.

Nowitzki made a jumper with 9:51 left in the second quarter of Dallas’ game in Brooklyn on Wednesday night to pass O’Neal. Nowitzki finished with 22 points, making the go-ahead basket with 19.2 seconds left in overtime in Dallas’ 119-118 victory, to push his total to 28,609.

O’Neal had 28,596 in his career and is a candidate for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. Wilt Chamberlain is fifth with 31,419 points.

Nowitzki is eighth on the combined NBA-ABA list, behind No. 6 Julius Erving and No. 7 Moses Malone.


NEW YORK (AP) - The commissioner’s office says four players have been suspended under baseball’s minor league drug program - three for steroids and one for a stimulant.

Clario Perez, a pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, was banned for 80 games Wednesday. Pitcher Jose Martinez of the New York Mets organization and catcher Kerby Camacho of Minnesota drew bans of 60 games and pitcher Will Dennis of Baltimore 50 games.

There have been 108 suspensions this year under the minor league program.

Perez, a 23-year-old left-hander, tested positive for metabolites of stanozolol. He was 2-4 with a 2.65 ERA this year from Class A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona.

Martinez, a 21-year-old right-hander, tested positive for the same substance. He was 3-0 with a 4.10 ERA this year for the Dominican Summer League Mets and the Gulf Coast League Mets.

Camacho, 18, tested positive for a metabolite of nandrolone. An 11th-round draft pick this year who attended the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico, Camacho hit .093 with one homer and five RBIs for the Gulf Coast League Twins.

Dennis, a 22-year-old left-hander, tested positive for the stimulant MDA. A 23rd-round selection this year from Seattle University, he was 4-2 with a 4.07 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Orioles and Aberdeen of the Class A New York-Penn League.


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