PrizePicks on Thursday announced a new free-to-play version of its pick ’em daily fantasy sports contest, with it debuting in Michigan prior to a nationwide launch.
The move comes as gaming regulators in several states, including Michigan, look to restrict fantasy operators from offering real-money pick’ em-style competitions. Last week, the Georgia-based company announced it would pull its cash game in that state after the Michigan Gaming Control Board - which oversees Michigan sports betting as well as online casinos - enacted a rule barring contests where entrants pick athletes and choose whether they will go over or stay under a certain statistical threshold. Unlike other fantasy games, PrizePicks’ daily fantasy games are single-player, meaning entrants play against the operator and win if enough of their picks are correct.
Critics have argued that such fantasy games are just parlay wagers offered by operators not licensed as sportsbooks. PrizePicks, which is a licensed fantasy operator in Michigan, had emerged as the state’s top revenue generator in the past year, according to MGCB data. Through August, it generated more than $9 million in revenue this year. That’s more than the state’s five other licensed operators have earned combined.
How PrizePicks Free Game Works
According to the rules posted on PrizePicks’ website, the free-to-play game runs similar to its cash game. Aside from it costing nothing to enter, the biggest difference is that contestants will be playing against each other.
Each day, contestants will receive 1,000 PrizePoints, which the operator said “will serve as virtual currency.” Those points will not roll over to future days. Contestants can use those points to make picks throughout the day. They must select between two to six athletes at a time and choose whether each will hit or miss on a certain statistical benchmark. They will earn points if they hit a certain number of correct picks.
Up to 100 contestants will win cash at the end of each day, provided they have at least 1,001 points. The top contestant will win $250, the second-place winner will get $150, and the third-place finisher will receive $100. Prize values cascade, with the bottom 49 winners getting $2 each.
After the Michigan decision, PrizePicks now offers real-money daily fantasy contests in 30 states and the District of Columbia. It also operates in every Canadian province except for Ontario.
The operator did not say when it will roll out the free-to-play game elsewhere in the country, but Brian Huss, PrizePicks’ vice president of innovation, said in a statement there will be more to come.
“This new free-to-play format is the first of new game types to come and opens the door for us to reach sports fans who may not already be familiar with PrizePicks,” Huss said.
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