Three Florida Daily Fantasy Sports Pick ‘Em Operators Sent Cease And Desist Letters

Spread the Word:

Daily fantasy sports operators Betr, PrizePicks, and Underdog may have to exit Florida.

That’s after the Florida Gaming Control Commission sent a further cease and desist letter to the three operators over their Pick ‘Em games. It informed them that they would face criminal prosecution if they did not act on the order within 30 days.

Only PrizePicks has confirmed its intention to exit. But sources close to the matter told various media outlets it is highly likely all three operators will exit the market.

Legal sports betting in Florida is limited to Hard Rock Bet, operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

“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 said.

Wide-Open Games

The state regulator’s move comes amid widening scrutiny of the daily fantasy sports market across the U.S., specifically Pick ‘Em games.

Underdog was this week handed a $15 million fine by regulators in charge of New York sports betting, after offering the Pick ‘Em prop bet style contests in the state.

Regulators in various states say that the prop style contests amount to sports betting, and are therefore not simply daily fantasy sports.

However, FanDuel and DraftKings both currently offer pick ‘em style games in Florida. The three operators in question there, plus FanDuel and DraftKings, also run the same games in the two largest states, California and Texas, where sports betting is not legalized.  

On Thursday, regulators in Arkansas also took action on the issue.

In a similar stance to Florida’s, cease and desist letters were sent to Underdog Sports and Prize Picks.

“Back in the day, places that tolerated illegal gambling were referred to as ‘wide-open,’” said Department of Finance and Administration head Trent Minner in a press release.

“The internet is today’s equivalent of a ‘wide-open town,’ where unlicensed gambling thrives outside of the taxation and age-verification requirements required by the law. As the state’s regulator of licensed sports betting, DFA is putting these companies on notice that Arkansas is not ‘wide-open.’”

Arkansas sports betting is open for online betting, but only allows independent operators, not national sportsbooks.

Operators Pivot

Interestingly, despite record participation levels driven by Californians and Texans, many DFS operators are looking to gain full sports wagering licenses.

“We can confirm that we have reached a negotiated resolution with the FGCC to cease operating our current contests on March 1st,” a PrizePicks spokesperson said in a statement this week.

“That resolution, however, makes very clear that we are welcome to operate in the state in the future and we will provide additional details on go-forward operations in due course.”

In Florida, that probably means returning as a free DFS operator. But speculation is PrizePicks is looking for a New York sports betting license.

Meanwhile, Underdog is set to launch its first full sportsbook in the upcoming North Carolina sports betting market, which is due to open March 11.

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