Underdog Fantasy is rolling out peer-to-peer player pick’em contests in four states, as more regulators identify player vs. house daily fantasy sports as de facto sports betting.
Underdog’s Pick’em Champions peer-to-peer games will be available in:
Those states were chosen based on conversations with regulators, an Underdog spokesperson said.
How Underdog pick’em will work
Peer-to-peer pick’em will still center around users selecting a combination of athletes to either go over or under a particular stat. Instead of playing to win three or six times the dollar amount of their entry fee, users will compete against each other, with a yet-to-be-determined prize awarded to those with the best score, according to the company spokesperson.
“We’ve built Underdog to innovate and help sports fans increase their enjoyment with sports and that is exactly what we are doing with Pick ‘em Champions,” Jeremy Levine, founder and co-CEO of Underdog, said in a statement.
“I’m very excited for what comes next. As we continue to evolve Champions, I think it very well could become the best game we offer. Recently, a few regulators have said that in their states fantasy should be peer-to-peer. While we don’t agree with that interpretation of the law, we developed Champions to be peer-to-peer. “
States take aim at pick’em DFS
Earlier this month, the Mississippi Gaming Commission notified Underdog that DFS contests must be peer-to-peer.
In August, Underdog and PrizePicks — the two most downloaded daily fantasy sports apps this year, according to JMP Securities — tweaked their offerings to meet demands from the Alabama Attorney General.
The Wyoming Gaming Commission sent both companies cease and desist letters in July, declaring their games as sports wagering. Since then, multiple states followed suit, including Florida and Maine, where Underdog was fined nearly $400,000.
Underdog, peers change their games
More recently, New York and Michigan banned DFS games deemed to mimic player prop betting.
That led to PrizePicks making its pick’em games free-to-play in Michigan last week. It intends to do the same in other states, according to a company spokesperson. Sleeper, another large pick’em operator, recently left New York following the ban, while PrizePicks and Underdog still offer paid pick’em there.
An Underdog spokesperson noted that the arrival of peer-to-peer pick’em has no impact on the status of its player vs. house games in any state.