Will Tribes, PrizePicks Talk Fantasy Sports In California?

Written By

Updated on

fantasy sports

A coalition featuring several large California gaming tribes may meet with PrizePicks to discuss the operator’s letter regarding the legality of fantasy sports in the state. 

The California Indian Nations Gaming Association (CNIGA), which has 52 member tribes, submitted its own letter to the state attorney general as part of the office’s ongoing review of the fantasy sports pick’em issue. 

In its letter, PrizePicks claims “it is well-established that ‘games of skill’ are legal in California and not considered to be forms of gambling.”

“We’ve read them. We’re looking at them. We’re considering potentially sitting down (with PrizePicks) and discussing their letter with them,” CNIGA chairman James Siva told PlayUSA at the Western Indian Gaming Conference last week. 

California fantasy sports review ongoing

California Attorney General Rob Bonta is in the process of reviewing whether the state’s gambling laws prohibit DFS. 

In its letter, CNIGA referred to controversial daily fantasy sports pick’em games as “illegal sports wagering.” 

“We hope our comments to Attorney General Bonta will clarify some of the misinformation surrounding DFS,” a PrizePicks spokesperson said. “We have great respect for California’s tribal community and their sovereignty, and believe our comments will reinforce the longstanding legality of games of skill in California, including DFS.” 

Other states take action on pick’em

PrizePicks, like other DFS operators, has faced scrutiny and discipline in other jurisdictions regarding its pick’em offering. 

In New York, PrizePicks agreed to pay a $15 million settlement for operating without a license.

In Florida, it pulled out after facing pressure from the state regulator

Tribes to advocate for their position

Siva said tribes will “continue to advocate” for their position on the issue. 

“We’ll continue to advocate our position. I think there’s a lot of moving pieces in this one. Because we just came off of these big sports betting initiatives, this is all connected in some way, so we’re going to take a careful approach but still advocate our position that these games should not be allowed,” Siva said. 

“I do appreciate them mentioning tribes in their statement. We do have a core disagreement on the legality of the games, not all the games but the ones that PrizePicks and Betr really have used to boost their companies. Those are the games we have an issue with. We’re incredibly careful in our approach, but again it’s just another example of our exclusivity being limited here, another infringement on tribal sovereignty, and these just have to stop. In our opinion, the definition of their games that they’re playing is a clear violation of the California constitution.” 

Daily fantasy sports donations in CA

PrizePicks has given money to both the Democratic ($25,000) and Republican ($750) Attorneys General Association. Other DFS operators and coalitions have also made similar donations. 

“This daily fantasy thing was sped up,” Siva said. “It’s very interesting how quickly the AG office turned around their process to start on this when we’ve been asking for similar stuff with the cardrooms and their games for years, and they said we’re trying, we’re trying. Now finally 20 years later we have some regulations coming down but they’re not finalized yet.

“All of a sudden with this, they just turn it around in a matter of months, get some proposed regs out and are moving along. It’s a little too much like picking and choosing priorities that I don’t appreciate.”