Fantasy sports operators with “pick ’em” contests based on player propositions can no longer offer them in Michigan.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced last week that contests involving such predictions are no longer allowed after it filed a new rule with the Secretary of State’s office. That came one week after a state legislative committee set up to review planned rules changes offered by agencies chose not to discuss or make any changes to the MGCB’s proposal. The board said the new rules will “ensure a secure, responsible, fair and legal system of fantasy contest offerings” for Michigan players.
Under the new rule, Michigan fantasy sports operators can only offer contests based on competitions involving professional, college or other recognized sports leagues that are “directly dependent on the performance of the participating athletes.” However, the agency now forbids operators from offering contests that look like Michigan sports betting, including ones where fantasy players must pick whether an athlete will exceed or miss a specific statistical threshold.
“Fantasy contests, like any other form of competitive gaming, thrive on rules and regulations,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. “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, Others Affected By New Rule
While several fantasy operators offer “pick ’em” contests, the new rules will specifically impact three that have operated in Michigan – PrizePicks, Boom Fantasy and RealTime. By far, the operator that will be most affected by the change is PrizePicks.
The Atlanta-based operator is the largest fantasy sports operator in the state. According to MGCB data, PrizePicks has reported more than $8.5 million in adjusted revenue through the first seven months of the year. That’s more than the other five operators have produced for the year. PrizePicks only offers prop-style pick ’em contests, which critics claim are the same as parlay wagers offered by Michigan sportsbook apps.
Michigan To Review Operators
With the new rules in place, Michigan gaming regulators plan to review all the licensed fantasy operators' offerings to ensure they comply with the new rules. RealTime President Mark Hanna told BetMichigan in an email that his company has already stopped offering the games in the state.
“Although we wish the commission would have allowed these style of games to continue in the state, it does not affect us to a large degree as we still offer a wide range of fantasy contests that fall within the Commission’s guidelines,” Hanna said. “These games – which we have been running for over 15 years – are the bulk of our fantasy contest business.”
Messages to PrizePicks and Boom seeking comment were not returned as of Tuesday afternoon.
Michigan is not the only state that has targeted “pick ’em” fantasy contests. The New York State Gaming Commission approved a similar rule at a meeting earlier this month. On Tuesday, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission proposed barring fantasy operators from offering such games as part of its first draft of sports betting rules.
Keep track of industry developments as well as obtaining the top legal Michigan sports betting bonuses right here at betMichigan.com.