Florida Orders PrizePicks, Fantasy Sports Outfits To Stop Taking ‘Illegal Bets’

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Florida regulators sent letters to fantasy sports operators PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy and Betr this week demanding they cease offering or accepting “illegal bets or wagers” immediately.

The letters identify each DFS operator as allegedly offering wagers on contests of skill, prohibited under Florida Statute Section 849 Chapter 14.

“Accordingly, as Executive Director of the Florida Gaming Control Commission, I am hereby demanding you immediately cease and desist offering or accepting bets or wagers from residents of this state on the results of any contests of skill such as sports betting, including, but not limited to, bets or wagers made in connection with fantasy sports,” the letters say.

Daily fantasy sports scrutiny grows

Florida is the second state to send PrizePicks and Underdog cease and desist orders in the past two months. It is among 30 states where both companies offer pick ’em games, where users predict a combination of different athlete stats to win money.

A growing number of states have identified those games, and any resembling player prop parlays, as potential forms of unlicensed sports betting. PrizePicks is campaigning to stop rules that would prevent their contests in New York, while a trade group represtenting both companies is doing the same in Michigan.

“We disagree on the merits, and will be working with the commission and potentially the legislature so we can ensure Florida sports fans can continue to play,” John Lockwood, an attorney representing Underdog and multiple DFS companies in Florida, said in an emailed statement.

PrizePicks responds to Florida order

Both companies pulled out of Maryland and West Virginia last year amid similar cease and desist orders.

“PrizePicks is participating in the regulatory review of paid fantasy sports operators in Florida by the Florida Gaming Control Commission. We are eager to meet with the Executive Director, and the Commission, to discuss our business and our skill-based gaming platform,” a PrizePicks spokesperson said in a statement. “At this time, there is no change to our business operations within the state. We are committed to ensuring that our valued members continue to enjoy their right to play the fantasy sports games they love.”

Betr launched pick ’em DFS in August, a few months after taking its first bets as a licensed gambling operator in Ohio, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Betr declined to comment on its letter.

Letters could catch more than fantasy sports pick ’em

Underdog’s season-long and weekly fantasy sports games could be implicated alongside the more controversial pick ’em games, according to documents reviewed by LSR. PrizePicks and Betr do not offer other types of DFS.

Florida, where legal sports betting is currently not offered, has been somewhat of a gray area for DFS for decades.

The Florida Gaming Control Commission declined to address if the scope of their inquiry will grow.

Lawsuit stalls legal Florida sports betting

The Seminole Tribe has exclusivity over online sports betting in Florida under state law, though a federal lawsuit has largely prevented them from taking bets outside a short period in 2021.

A recent court decision led to speculation that the tribe may resume taking bets sometime during the current NFL season. If that is the case the Hard Rock Bet app would be Florida’s only legal online sports betting option.