As of October 11, 2023, the state of Michigan has effectively banned Pick’Em daily fantasy sports games. The ban, proposed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), came into effect following legislative approval at the start of the month. The new regulation perceives these fantasy games as games of chance as opposed to skill-based games, given their resemblance to sports betting.
Michigan’s move to ban Pick’Em daily fantasy sports reflects a trend initiated by Florida in September 2023. Other states poised to follow suit include Maine, Massachusetts, and Wyoming – with New York soon to enforce similar regulations come October 18. The ban in Michigan was set into motion when the Michigan Gaming Control Board presented it to the Michigan Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which allowed for automatic clearance and enforcement.
The new law enacted by the MGCB draws attention to the close parallels between Pick’Em games and the prop bets often associated with sports betting. Despite the protestations of game operators who cited a 2006 legal precedent permitting the conduct of fantasy games, Michigan lawmakers conceded to the argument that Pick’Em games mirror sports wagering.
MGCB’s Executive Director, Henry Williams, expressed his support for the decision, 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.”
Consequently, the ban violated the interests of prominent gaming operator, PrizePicks, which must now withdraw from Michigan and New York. The MGCB has also announced plans to closely monitor all fantasy contest licensees in Michigan to ensure compliance with the new rules.
State Sen. Jim Runestad publicly contested the decision, promising his dedicated efforts toward reinstating access to legal fantasy sports games in Michigan. Runestad voiced his pledge, stating “Moving forward, I plan to collaborate with the gaming commission and other lawmakers to restore access to the legal fantasy sports games that have just been stripped away from Michiganders.”