Pick’Em DFS Being Forced Out Of Michigan With New Legislation

Written By Drew Ellis on October 6, 2023 - Last Updated on October 11, 2023
Image of man being booted, representing Michigan booting Pick'em DFS

The Coalition for Fantasy Sports says Michigan has now limited fantasy sports options in the state with new legislation. According to a group representing PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy and Sleeper, Michigan will no longer be allowing pick’em daily fantasy sports contests.

Specifically, it will be banning over/under props on individual players that mimic legal Michigan sports betting. It’s a move that was recently made in both Florida and New York as well.

UPDATE: The Michigan Gaming Control Board confirmed the new legislation, The Fantasy Contests Consumer Protection Act, has taken effect as of Oct. 11.

Proposal moves forward over inaction

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules accepted new rules proposed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board that would limit certain types of fantasy sports games.

JCAR accepted the proposal by not taking a meeting to discuss it, or taking any kind of action over a 15-day window that expired this week.

The new rules were then moved on to the Michigan Secretary of State for approval.

“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 for Fantasy Sports said in a statement.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board confirmed that new legislation takes effect as of Oct. 11.

“Fantasy contests, like any other form of competitive gaming, thrive on rules and regulations,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said in a press release. “The Administrative Rules, which were reviewed by the Michigan Legislature, provide a level playing field for all fantasy contest operators and participants, and will help ensure that fairness, transparency, and integrity are upheld.”

PrizePicks impacted by new legilsation

These new adopted rules will likely force PrizePicks to leave Michigan, similar to how Underdog Fantasy left the state in 2022 due to legislation changes.

PrizePicks offers customers the ability to select whether a player in a given sport will be over or under a total for a given statistic.

Regulated operators like FanDuel Sportsbook Michigan and DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan see that as too much like a prop bet. FanDuel and DraftKings have fantasy games that are played in pools or against other individuals. PrizePicks has the individual competing against proposed odds.

The revised language from the MGCB prohibits DFS sites and apps from offering “proposition selection or fantasy contests that have the effect of mimicking proposition selection.”

Earlier this month, New York established a similar ban on pick’em types of fantasy games. Florida did the same weeks ago.

Some Michigan reps still fighting for Pick’Em DFS

Not all in government are pleased with this development.

State Senator Jim Runestad is among them.

“For weeks we’ve heard from citizens in our home districts and across the state, demanding that we lead on this issue. Instead, Chairman Haadsma and his fellow JCAR Democrats chose to do nothing. They ignored the voices of Michiganders, bent to the will of big donors and corporate interests, and clearly violated the intent of the original fantasy sports bill as well as the will of the people,” Runestad said in a statement.

“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.”

A similar band on these fantasy games was considered in 2021 by the MGCB. Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. expressed the rules went beyond the legislature’s intent when it passed the Fantasy Sports Bill in 2019.

Hertel added that lawmakers intentionally didn’t include language banning these types of fantasy sports games as they are a “form of gaming based on individual athletes’ statistical output in a given contest,” and are legal under Michigan law.

Currently, PrizePicks generates the most revenue of the daily fantasy sports options in Michigan. It has $8.5 million thus far in 2023, making up 63.9% of the market share in the state. It also has generated $716,315 in tax revenue for Michigan this year.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of PlayILottery.com. He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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