Underdog lays down legality case & launches $2m giveaway

Image: Shutterstock

Underdog Fantasy has published a document on its website laying out its case for why its offering is legal in all states it is live in and has said that opponents FanDuel and DraftKings had been “caught flat-footed” in not offering a similar product. 

Taking to the Underdog website, the firm’s General Counsel Nicholas G. Green outlined that the fantasy sports operator companies with “the letter and spirit of state and federal law everywhere that we offer them”.

Green also blasted FanDuel and DraftKings, which have both been making the case that Underdog and similar paid fantasy sports operators are illegally offering sports wagering. He outlined that the operators had been “caught flat-footed” by “innovators” such as Underdog. 

He outlined: “The suggestion that the incumbents (e.g., DraftKings and FanDuel) would offer Pick’em fantasy if it were legal is an excuse for being caught flat-footed by innovators like Underdog, who continued to focus on fantasy sports when the incumbents shifted overnight to being sportsbooks. 

“These are not risk-averse companies. Without a competitive fantasy product, they have adopted convenient legal arguments that should not be immediately accepted as good-faith disagreements on the law.”

On FanDuel and DraftKing’s opposition to Pick’em games, Green added that he was unsure why they do not offer a similar product. 

“I’ll confess to not knowing why DraftKings and FanDuel do not have fantasy contests that are similar to Pick’em fantasy; I do not have any public or non-public information on that issue. Even though they have said publicly that they do not believe the contests fit within the definitions of state law, there is nothing legally binding them from reconsidering their conclusion now.

“What I do know is what is obvious from their public statements, shareholder filings, and activities in the past several years. The incumbents shifted their focus and resources rapidly from fantasy sports to the much greater revenue opportunities in mobile sports wagering. If you believe that the future of your business is sports betting, why bother innovating in fantasy sports?”

The letter also argues against the opposition that the sportsbooks have made against Underdog’s product. The general case is that Pick’em style fantasy sports games are akin to player props and parlay bets. Yet Green used the letter to assert his opposition to this claim. 

He wrote: “There are a series of strict, immutable rules that govern a fantasy sports contest. In any fantasy contest, the roster cannot have athletes from one team; you can only predict the performance of individual athletes; and winning outcomes must be based upon the accumulated performance of those athletes.

“Those immutable requirements are why customers cannot replicate their casino sportsbook options on a fantasy platform like Underdog. Anyone who has ever parlayed bets on a casino sportsbook knows the difference between pick’em fantasy and sports wagering.”

The letter marks the second time Undedog has publicly addressed these claims after CEO Jeremy Levine wrote a letter against FanDuel and DraftKings’ allegations.

Underdog celebrates one million players with $2m giveaway

Meanwhile, Underdog has celebrated hitting one million paid-up players by honoring to giveaway $2m throughout the 2023/24 NFL season. 

From this weekend, the operator will begin hosting a “100k Sunday Sweepstakes” series, in which ten users have the chance to win $10,000. The competition will be available to all verified users of the sports platform and 10 winners will receive a $10,000 cash credit. 

The prize structure is liable to change throughout the campaign but Underdog has pledged to give away $2m before the season ends.

“Having our one millionth paid player in just our third year speaks directly to the appetite for innovation and improved experiences for sports fans in America. Three years ago, we set out on a journey to build new games for fans to increase their enjoyment of the sports they love,” said Jeremy Levine, founder and co-CEO of Underdog. 

“I’m looking forward to giving our players an opportunity to win even more with the Sunday Sweepstakes and am excited to continue growing our offerings and making the player experience even better for the next million and beyond. We’re just getting started.”