Michigan set to join other states in pick’em DFS ban

Image: Shutterstock

Rules proposed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board that would prohibit pick’em style fantasy sports games have been approved by a watchdog. 

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules gave the green light to the MGCB proposal which would see Michigan join other states like New York and Florida stiffening their stance against prop-style DFS games. 

The decision came despite a campaign from the Coalition for Fantasy Sports, which lobbied to overturn the regulator’s motion. The pressure group gained the support of over 2,500 people who sent emails supporting the DFS operators. 

The Coalition for Fantasy Sports said: “We will continue to work with regulators and policymakers to provide the innovative fantasy sports products customers want and love.”

Operators that currently offer the DFS games that would be prohibited are Boom, PrizePicks and RealTime Fantasy Sports.

Proponents of the ban, and the MGCB, claim that these styles of bets are too close to prop-style bets and fall foul of state gambling laws. 

Earlier publications from MGCB stated that it seeks to ban “proposition selection or fantasy contests that have the effect of mimicking proposition selection”. Moreover, the MGCB would ban “any fantasy contests that involve, result in, or have the effect of mimicking betting on sports”.

The move is certain to cause controversy, especially after similar regulatory interventions in Florida and New York

In New York, the State Gaming Commission voted to ban prop-style DFS games, whilst in Florida, the Gaming Commission has sent a cease-and-desist letter to most DFS operators, warning that any style of fantasy sports contravenes Florida gambling laws. 

While a similar outcome seems likely in Michigan following this ruling, opposition still persists, with State Senator Jim Runestad speaking up against such a ban. 

Sen. Runestad stated: “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. 

“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.” 

SBC Americas spoke to Underdog Fantasy CEO Jeremy Levine about some of the heat his company has found itself under in recent times and addressed some of the concerns about the legality of his platform. It is essential to point out that Underdog Fantasy does not operate in Michigan.