The never-say-die attitude of PrizePicks has shown itself as the daily fantasy sports company has resurfaced in Michigan, this time with a free-to-play product.
The state banned PrizePicks in October after pressure from sports betting operators who claimed the company was offering features that were basically prop bets.
How to download PrizePicks in Michigan
The free PrizePicks app can be downloaded now for Android or iPhone devices. Users will be required to create an account, but no financial or personal information (other than an email address) will be required. Users must be at least 18 years of age to play the game. Because the new PrizePicks product does not require payment, it is not regulated under online gaming laws in Michigan.
Players can create “parlay style” choices in PrizePicks consisting of between two and six athletes based on an over/under outcome. If successful, players earn points and can be listed on a leaderboard in the app. But, no prizes can be rewarded directly due to the success or odds of the picks. Instead, PrizePicks’ free game will reward prizes ranging between $2 and $250 daily to players who have the most points.
Michigan previously banned PrizePicks for ‘mimicking betting on sports’
The PrizePicks Fantasy contest app ducked out of Michigan on Nov. 10, following a rapid regulatory response from the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The MGCB prohibited online games that featured “pick’em” style contests. It cited them as being too similar to Michigan online sports betting player props reserved for sportsbook licensees.
The DraftKings MI Sportsbook and FanDuel Michigan Sportsbook, each of whom have fantasy sports products in the state, criticized companies like PrizePicks for skirting the law by offering “prop-bet” fantasy contests.
The MGCB issued a statement in October. It indicated its intent to shut down PrizePicks and any company with prop betting built into a fantasy sports product. The MGCB said it would ban “any fantasy contests that involve, result in, or have the effect of mimicking betting on sports.”
Status of PrizePicks in other US states
Other states, including New York and Florida, have taken steps to restrict or ban fantasy sports contest apps that offer products it deems as similar to sports betting. Betr and Underdog Sports have also been targeted. Regulators are often motivated by wanting to protect underage consumers. Young people may be enticed by the perceived less risky fantasy sports option as compared to sportsbook betting.
The MGCB has yet to issue a response to the return of PrizePicks to Michigan.
The regulatory body is mandated by the state constitution to regulate gaming and also levy taxes on operators. Any product that features payouts is likely to draw the interest of regulators wary of missing out on tax revenue.