StarsDraft yesterday become the first major daily fantasy sports site to signal a change in approach to Michigan following comments from that state’s Gaming Control Board regarding the legality of DFS.
Players from Michigan were notified via the following email:
You are receiving this notice because your account lists Michigan as your registered state of residence.
Following a recent management review of our terms and conditions, we have elected to no longer offer the ability to deposit and fund accounts for Michigan residents.
120-Day Wind Down Period
Starting today, your account will enter into a 120-day wind down period. During this period, your account will retain open and full access of the StarsDraft.com website.
Your account will remain open with full access until January 1, 2016.
Please make sure that you have withdrawn your entire balance before this date. After that point, you will no longer be able to access your Victiv.com account.
We apologize for the abrupt change in policy and hope to be able to reopen access if there’s any future change to this restriction.
Concurrently, StarsDraft announced an identical policy for players from Canada.
Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications for Amaya, offered the following comment to LSR:
As one of the most licensed online gaming operators in the world, we review each potential DFS market on a case-by-case basis.
Today, certain states in the U.S. market are the primary focus for our StarsDraft offering and for the DFS industry, generally.
We will continue to review the opportunity to provide StarsDraft in Canada and hope to be able to offer StarsDraft to our Canadian customers with clarity and confidence in the future.
Will other operators follow suit?
We’ve spoken with a number of other DFS operators, none of whom were willing to go on record. But the general consensus at this point seems to be that it’s business as usual for DFS operators in Michigan.
It’s a tricky issue:
- Backing down in Michigan could complicate things for FanDuel and DraftKings in other states.
- Unilaterally exiting a state in the week before NFL season could result in both PR headaches and a competitive disadvantage for DFS sites.
- The pending bill in Michigan to explicitly legalize fantasy sports is also a complicating factor.
- Finally, Amaya is just running a radically different race than other DFS operators, and has unique incentive act out of an abundance of caution.
The sum of the above: I’d wager that we might see one or two other major operators follow StarsDraft’s lead, but that FanDuel and DraftKings won’t be among that group.