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Michigan Gaming Regulators Ban DFS Pick ‘Ems

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is putting its foot down on a type of daily fantasy sports (DFS) pick ’ems that have become a little too much like regulated sports betting. Michigan is just the latest state to ban DFS pick ’ems and, in all likelihood, won’t be the last.

At the heart of the issue are DFS games known as pick ’ems that emphasize player proposition bets involving a few, specific players. This marks a real departure from traditional DFS games that involve a large slate of players who don’t need meet specific benchmarks in order to score points for the player.

Pick ’ems have been used to great effect by smaller DFS operators such as Boom, PrizePicks and RealTime Fantasy Sports to compete with regulated sports betting operators. Not surprisingly those larger sports betting operators, such as DraftKings, have lobbied with state gaming regulators to put a stop to this new competition. Those efforts have been pretty successful so far.

Late last week, Michigan lawmakers weighed in on the subject and came down squarely on the side of those larger operators. They passed a new regulation that bans, “any contests that have the effect of mimicking betting on sports, or that involve ‘prop bets’ or the effect of mimicking proposition selection”.

MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams commented on the differences between DFS pick ’ems and regulated sports betting in a recent press release saying, “Fantasy contests, like any other form of competitive gaming, thrive on rules and regulations. 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.”

Both New York and Florida have also moved to ban DFS pick ’ems from the regulated gaming space in recent month.