October 10, 2023 3 min read


Michigan Presses On with Fantasy Pick’em Game Restrictions

The move follows similar regulatory actions in Florida and New York, sparking debate among stakeholders about the nature of these contests and their legality

Michigan is joining the growing list of states taking steps to restrict fantasy pick’em games, a form of daily fantasy sports (DFS) that has come under scrutiny for its resemblance to sports betting. Despite rising concerns, the sector enjoys unprecedented growth and should be flexible enough to accommodate changing regulations.

Pick’em Games Resemble Sports Wagering Prop Bets

Unlike traditional DFS offerings, pick’em-style games focus on predicting player statistics. The objective is to choose whether an individual’s performance will go over or under a specific stat line, similar to a prop bet in a traditional sportsbook. The nature of the contest structure and prize pool means such games fall within the legal definition of fantasy sports.

Pick’em-style games’ unclear legal status means many view them as a form of unregulated sports betting. Last month, the Florida Gaming Control Commission sent cease-and-desist letters to several fantasy operators offering such products, citing concerns that these games mimic mobile sports wagering. The New York State Gaming Commission similarly adopted rules banning pick’em-style games offered by companies like Underdog, PrizePicks, and Betr.

Michigan Joins Florida and New York with Proposed Restrictions

Michigan is the latest state to join the rising discontent against pick’em-style games. Michigan’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) accepted new rules proposed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to prohibit such offerings within its jurisdiction. The JCAR approved the rules without holding a formal meeting, signaling the state’s intent to restrict these contests.

The new rules should soon be filed with the Secretary of State’s office, paving the way for future implementation. While fantasy stakeholders have expressed frustration over this development, arguing that these games are legal forms of fantasy sports, the regulatory debate continues. This decision will undoubtedly impact their regional operations, but companies should be able to adapt and adjust their offerings.

Stakeholders Banded Together to Oppose the Decision

The Coalition of Fantasy Sports, representing companies like PrizePicks, Sleeper, and Underdog, expressed disappointment at Michigan’s decision. It vowed to work with regulators and policymakers to offer innovative fantasy sports products that align with customer preferences. Operators have also secured the support of State Senator Jim Runestad, who vowed to advocate for Michiganders’ ability to play pick’em-style fantasy games.

I pledge to work with the gaming commission and other lawmakers to restore access to the legal fantasy sports games that have just been stripped away from Michiganders.

Jim Runestad, Michigan State Senator

Michigan’s move to restrict pick’em-style fantasy games adds to the ongoing debate about the classification of these contests and their compliance with existing gambling regulations. Despite more states taking a stance against these offerings, the industry retains impressive momentum, with high-profile sportsbooks launching new offerings. The outcome of this ongoing debate will likely have implications for the future of pick’em-style contests in the DFS landscape, forcing stakeholders to remain flexible.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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