Despite the pleas from the The Coalition for Fantasy Sports, New York and Michigan sports betting regulators have reportedly agreed to ban the Pick ‘Em fantasy sports games. The games based on predicting the player’s statistics are reportedly considered by the regulators to mirror sports betting thus becoming illegal in these two states that recently addressed the potential overlap between these games and sports betting together with Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, and Wyoming.
New York Ban Mirrored by Michigan’s Regulator:
On October 4, 2023, New York State Gaming Commissioners (NYSGC) adopted the state sports betting rule prohibiting fantasy contests from being based on or having the effect of mimicking proposition betting offered by sports betting service providers. Less than 24 hours later, Michigan Gaming Control Board banned the daily fantasy sports contests to continue the streak initiated by the state of Florida by ruling the fantasy sports operators out of the state in September 2023, as reported.
In New York, the rules are expected to be published by October 18. According to NYSGC, the measure will not impact traditional Daily Fantasy Sports and casual fantasy leagues. The decision was reportedly made despite the arguments offered by the Coalition for Fantasy Sports, representing the leading operators to offer “pick ’em” games, PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy and Sleeper. According to the source, the Coalition argued that pick ’em contests shall not be classified as gambling but rather a game of skill as specified in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
Underdog reportedly stated: “We will continue to work with the gaming commission to ensure we operate under the finalized fantasy sports rules.” As reported, PrizePicks added: “We are meeting regularly with the NYGC to discuss the future of fantasy sports in New York. We are grateful for the advocacy efforts of our many members in the state and will work with policymakers to ensure that they can continue to play the fantasy sports they know and love.”
Automatic Enforcement in Michigan:
In Michigan, Michigan Gaming Control Board’s proposed rules to ban the games have reportedly automatically cleared legislative approval. The regulators in four other states have also pointed to the similarity between the pick ’em games and player props offered by sports books.
The Coalition for Fantasy Sports reportedly stated: “Thousands of Michiganders reached out to lawmakers asking that the MGCB rules be rejected, submitting over 2,600 emails and making over 700 phone calls. Despite the public appeal, JCAR members held no meeting and took no action before their 15-day window expired yesterday, thereby approving the Board’s rules by default.” The Coalition also stated: “We will continue to work with regulators and policymakers to provide the innovative fantasy sports products customers want and love.”
As a consequence, PrizePicks will reportedly have to leave New York and Michigan. Other Daily Fantasy Sports apps that do not offer pick ’em games like FanDuel and DraftKings are not affected by the ban. These have been extensively blamed by the Pick ’em operators for the recent avoidance of regulatory sanctions. Pick ’em companies refer to the 2006 law to defend their position in the subject six states. With three states having banned the game, the operators now awaiting the respective regulatory proposals in Maine, Massachusetts, and Wyoming.
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