Pick ‘Em Style Fantasy Sports

  • North Carolina’s proposed sports betting rules may limit Pick ‘Em style daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests.
  • There are currently no rules or regulations for DFS in the state, but the initial sports betting rules proposed Tuesday appear to target those styles of fantasy contests.
  • January 2024 is the earliest date legal North Carolina sports betting can launch.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – North Carolina’s first set of proposed sports betting rules clearly define what does and doesn’t constitute as a “fantasy contest” in the state. Pick ‘Em entries made popular by daily fantasy sports operators like PrizePicks and Underdog seem to be viewed as sports betting based on the definition.

The North Carolina legal sports betting committee initially approved the rules on Tuesday. A section detailing fantasy contests explains what makes a fantasy contest, as well as prohibited fantasy sports contests.

One of the prohibitions from the state lottery commission states “proposition wagering or contests that involve, result in, or have the effect of mimicking proposition wagering or other forms of Sports Wagering.” This directly targets prop-style Pick ‘Em entries popularized by Prize Picks and Underdog that allows players to choose the over/under on a player’s statistical projection.

The popularity of DFS betting stems outside of states with legal sports betting like Florida or California. These states without legal sports betting, like North Carolina, are also reviewing the legality of prop-style betting offered as fantasy contests.

NC Fantasy Contests Definition and Prohibitions Target DFS

The proposed rules define fantasy contests as “Fantasy or simulated games or contests in which one or more fantasy contest players compete and winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the fantasy contest players and are determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals, including athletes in the case of sporting events.”

Contests in which an individual doesn’t compete against another player and rather competes against the house is not considered a fantasy contests under the proposed rules. That means DFS operators specializing in the prop-style, player vs house contests would need a license to operate in North Carolina.

The rules are not final and will receive a public hearing on Oct. 27. Amendments could be made well before legal North Carolina sports betting sites launch sometime between January and June in 2024.

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