Underdog Leaves Michigan Daily Fantasy Sports Over Regulation

Written By Pat Evans on June 29, 2022
underdog

Daily fantasy sports operator Underdog Fantasy pulled out of Michigan, but it could be back in the near future.

Underdog Fantasy pulled out of Michigan daily fantasy sports, according to an email from the company’s customer support team last week. The company is working to get back into the market, according to a source close to Underdog Fantasy.

“Unfortunately because of some regulation changes we have had to stop operating in MI at the moment,” according to the support email. “We are exploring our options to be able to operate there again but there is no timeline for that just yet.”

According to Michigan DFS legislation, companies in existence prior to May 2018 could continue operating but are required to apply for licensure by July 1, 2022. Because Underdog Fantasy was founded in 2020, it did not qualify for the grandfathered registration.

Confusing Michigan daily fantasy sports situation

Beyond the date in the legislation, however, there were no changes to the regulatory framework in Michigan, according to multiple sources.

The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association is happy with the Michigan regulatory environment.

“Companies that were not operating in the state before the law was passed need to exit and re-apply,” said Peter Schoenke, an FSGA board member. “Michigan is a state with a good regulatory environment that allows for operators of all sizes to enter. It doesn’t have any major issues as far as the FSGA is concerned.”

Michigan daily fantasy sports update

The Fantasy Contest Consumer Protection Act took effect in Michigan at the end of 2019. In the law, operators that met its definition on May 1, 2018, could continue to operate.

The following operators are registered with the MGCB:

  • Boom Shakalaka
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Fantasy Sports Shark
  • FFPC
  • FullTime
  • PrizePicks
  • RealTime Fantasy Sports
  • SportsHub
  • Yahoo

The final rules for daily fantasy sports in Michigan are under review, according to a Michigan Gaming Control Board spokesperson. The MGCB will begin licensing once the Michigan legislature approves the rules and it receives applications from interested operators.

Underdog sports betting aspirations

In 2021, Underdog acquired technology firm Goat Gaming, with the aim of building out a full-stack sports betting platform. The operator plans to start offering US sports betting by 2023, according to a source within the company.

In May, Underdog Fantasy hired former FanDuel Government Affairs Director Stacie Stern as its vice president of government affairs and partnerships. During her time at FanDuel, Stern helped transition the DFS operator into the sports betting market.

Underdog Fantasy operates in states where daily fantasy sports regulations allow. The company has also attracted a variety of investors, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and athletes like Kevin Durant and Odell Beckham Jr.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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