The Coalition For Fantasy Sports revealed last week that proposition bet-style fantasy products, also known as ‘pick-ems’ will be banned from the state of Michigan.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board proposed new rules surrounding the contests, and given lawmakers declined to take it up, they automatically cleared through legislature.
The Coalition for Fantasy Sports suggests residents of Michigan submitted 2,600 emails and over 700 phone calls to the regulatory body rejecting the proposed MGCB rules. However, given the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules held no meeting in the mandatory 15-day window, the board rules were approved by default.
Jim Runestad, State Senator, and an ally of the Coalition for Fantasy Sports commented: “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.”
The law banning pick’em contests will take place at the end of October. After the rules take effect, the Michigan Gaming Control Board will review the offerings of each licensed daily fantasy operator to ensure they comply with the new legislation. The licensed operators in MI are as follows:
- Fantasy Football Player’s Championship
- Realtime Fantasy Sports
- Boom Shakalaka
DraftKings and FanDuel are two companies that have pivoted from a long history in daily fantasy sports to becoming regulated sportsbook operators. Jeremy Levine, Underdog CEO, has been particularly vocal in his criticism of the two operators, accusing them of stifling fantasy sports innovation.
Part of an open letter, penned by Levine to all Underdog customers read as follows:
“They can’t tell policymakers and others they don’t like competition, so FanDuel and DraftKings have constructed a disingenuous narrative that our fantasy sports contests are illegal. The arguments are ironic, ignoring the letter of the law for the same flimsy “feels like sports betting” line that critics have always lobbed at their paid fantasy sports contests. That’s why, despite more than a year of effort and tons of lobbying dollars, FanDuel and DraftKings are losing the fight with regulators.”
Despite Levine’s vociferous opposition, Michigan has followed New York in a ban of the contests in question. In addition, Underdog, Betr and PrizePicks all received orders to cease and desist by Florida state regulators in the last week