Daily Fantasy Sports Betting?

  • Michigan regulators proposed regulations to ban daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests that resemble sports betting.
  • The regulations target DFS operators such as PrizePicks and Boom, who offer “proposition selection” on individual player performances.
  • Underdog and other DFS operators argue they’re legal fantasy sports and not the same as sports betting.

DETROITMichigan joins the battle against daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators that offer player proposition projections resembling sports betting.

On Wednesday night, Michigan residents using the DFS app PrizePicks can pick Detroit Tigers starting pitchers Reese Olson to go over 5.0 strikeouts and Shohei Ohtani to have over 1.5 total bases. The same bets are available at Michigan sportsbooks, causing the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to question whether these fantasy sports contests are any different from sports betting.

Exact language from the MGCB’s proposed regulations say bans are in order for “any fantasy contest that involve, result in, or have the effect of mimicking betting on sports.” The new regulations directly target player prop picks offered by PrizePicks, RealTime Fantasy Sports, and Boom. They are the three daily fantasy sports operators in Michigan.

Michigan is not the only legal sports betting state that believes these fantasy sports contests too closely resemble sports betting. Other states, such as New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Wyoming, are considering the legality of these daily fantasy sports contests.

A 2022 lawsuit in New York ruled that daily fantasy sports are not sports betting. The result supports claims of legality made by Jeremy Levine, founder of the DFS operator Underdog Fantasy.

Underdog Claims DFS is Legal and Not Sports Betting

Jeremy Levine touted the legality of Underdog Fantasy across their 16 licensed states, which doesn’t include Michigan.

“Regulators across the country – including in states where mobile sports betting is also legal – have concluded our games perfectly fit within the legal definition of fantasy sports…Just this year, the North Carolina Legislature reaffirmed that Pick’em is a fantasy contest, not sports betting,” stated Levine.

Levine made the claims in a release addressed to the Underdog community, which regarded his confidence with Underdog’s legality despite recent criticism.

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