If at first you don’t succeed, offer the same product for free and hope that passes muster.
That’s apparently the tack PrizePicks is taking with its pick’em-style daily fantasy sports game, the pay-to-play version of which was recently deemed unlawful in Michigan. Coincidentally or not, Michigan is where the free-to-play version of the same game will debut before it’s rolled out to other states.
“This new free-to-play format is the first of new game types to come and opens the door for us to reach sports fans who may not already be familiar with PrizePicks,” said PrizePicks Vice President of Innovation Brian Huss in a press release.
As with the paid DFS game, the FTP version involves parlaying between two and six player over/unders and assigning a given amount of credits to each. Each player is allotted 1,000 credits upon entry, and the top 100 finishers on any given day will be paid between $2 and a top prize of $250 provided they finish with at least 1,001 credits.
Is it betting if it’s free?
In declaring that PrizePicks’ pay-to-play game was not legal last month, the Michigan Gaming Control Board adopted rules outlawing fantasy contests that “have the effect of mimicking betting on sports, or that involve ‘prop bets’ or the effect of mimicking proposition selection.”
While the MGCB clearly takes the stance that PrizePicks’ gameplay mimics prop betting, allowing people to play for free would seem to eliminate the “betting” aspect altogether. Calls and emails to the MGCB seeking confirmation of this interpretation went unreturned.
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