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Michigan Moves Closer To Eliminating Fantasy Pick’em Games, Which Some Say Mimic Sports Wagering

Florida and New York are among other states cracking down on the contests




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Add another chapter to the battle between state regulators and pick’em fantasy sports contests.

Last month, the Florida Gaming Control Commission sent cease-and-desist letters to several fantasy operators in relation to their pick’em-style contests that some say mimic mobile sports betting. Tuesday, the New York State Gaming Commission adopted rules that will ban pick’em-style games offered by companies like Underdog, PrizePicks, and Betr.

On Wednesday, Michigan’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules accepted new rules proposed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to prohibit pick’em-style games in the state. The JCAR didn’t hold a meeting about the rules, instead allowing them to be approved by default. 

The rules are expected to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office before going into effect. 

Fantasy stakeholders frustrated

Fantasy operators believe pick’em-style games fall within the legal definition of fantasy sports. Others feel that the games, which allow customers to choose an over or under from players’ statistical categories and receive a predetermined payout if the pick hits, are essentially an unregulated form of sports betting

Some state regulators aren’t comfortable with those pick’em style-games being offered, but other DFS offerings are allowed. 

The Coalition of Fantasy Sports, which is composed of PrizePicks, Sleeper, and Underdog, issued a statement following the recent development in Michigan that read, in part, “We will continue to work with regulators and policymakers to provide the innovative fantasy sports products customers want and love.” 

The coalition added that thousands of Michiganders reached out to their lawmakers hoping to prevent the rule change, but those requests went unheard. However, state Sen. Jim Runestad said he’ll fight for Michiganders’ ability to play pick’em-style fantasy games again in the future. 

“Moving forward, 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,” Runestad said in a statement.