PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy resume operations in Florida with new legal gaming formats

by | Apr 22, 2024

After receiving a cease-and-desist order from the Florida Gaming Control Commission for operating player-prop-style games against state regulations, PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy have resumed operations in Florida with new legally compliant ‘peer-to-peer’ gaming formats

After receiving a cease-and-desist order from the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC), PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy, two operators in the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry, have resumed operations in Florida with a new, legally compliant format.

Both companies were ordered to halt their traditional player-prop-style DFS games after the FGCC deemed them to be against state gambling regulations.

Both companies informed their Florida customers of their return through emails on Monday, introducing new ‘peer-to-peer’ games. Underdog Fantasy rolled out “Pick ‘Em Champions,” and PrizePicks launched “Arena.” The games differ from previous offerings because they allow players to compete against each other rather than betting against the house, which aligns with Florida’s legal requirements.

Peer-to-peer contests are skill-based competitions where outcomes are determined by players’ decisions, not by odds from the operators. According to the companies, this model fits within Florida’s legal definition of acceptable gaming because it avoids elements typical of traditional gambling.

The FGCC informed PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy, and a third company yet to re-appear, Betr, on January 31 that they have 30 days to halt their operations in Florida or face potential legal action from the state Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

The orders specifically targeted the “pick’em” style games offered by these companies, which the FGCC argued violates Florida’s gambling laws. Such games allow players to wager on whether their chosen sports teams will score above or below a point threshold set by the operators.

“If this cessation is completed within that timeframe, the Commission will deem the company and all its officials, directors, and employees have complied with the demands of the cease-and-desist order, and the Commission will not take further action, including referral to the Office of Statewide Prosecution or to any State Attorney,” the agency wrote in its letter to Betr.

The FGCC initially sent cease-and-desist notices to the companies in September, citing illegal sports betting activities through props-style daily fantasy sports.

The Capitolist reported in December that despite issuing letters to the three daily fantasy sports operators in September, the FGCC has refrained from taking similar action against DraftKings, spotlighting a potentially selective approach in the enforcement of regulations within Florida’s sports wagering industry.

DraftKings, a major player in the broader betting landscape, verified to The Capitolist that it had not been issued a cease-and-desist letter.

“We can confirm that we have not received any communication of this nature from the Florida Gaming Control Commission,” a DraftKings spokesperson said.

In sending the cease-and-desist notices to the trio of companies, the FGCC contended that hosting fantasy-style betting platforms contravenes Florida statute, and refers to its offering as “strictly prohibited” and permissible only under a gaming compact.

Moreover, the Commission’s move seems to extend beyond just daily fantasy games. Emails obtained by News Service of Florida in March suggested that the legal conclusions of the letters apply to all forms of paid fantasy sports contests. As of this writing, DraftKings purports on its website that daily fantasy sports betting is legal in Florida.


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