A pick-six is one of the most exciting moments in an American football game. For companies offering daily fantasy sports games in six US states, DraftKings’ introduction of its new Pick6 game may not be as thrilling.
Pick6 allows players in six states to enter pools that determine winners based on picks related to individual athlete statistics with real money as prizes. While the game serves a clear purpose for DraftKings, it poses a serious threat to competitors.
DraftKings’ new Pick6 game goes live in six US states
To play Pick6, you have to physically be in one of six US states when you submit your entry on the new dedicated app or website. Those states are:
- South Carolina
While a press release from DraftKings says there are “additional rollouts expected to follow,” there is no timeline for such expansion. At the moment, the game is limited to athletes participating in NBA and NFL contests.
The game’s mechanics resemble popular contests from operators like Betr, PrizePicks, and Underdog. Despite what the name suggests, you don’t have to pick six players.
The game allows for you to submit an entry with as few as two athletes in your play. For each, you select whether you think the player will go over or under a certain statistic during a game.
For example, you might face a choice of whether LeBron James will have more or fewer than seven rebounds in a game.
Other than allowing DraftKings customers in these states some variety in their play, the motivation to launch this game for DraftKings is obvious.
Gaining new users in states without legal online gambling
In four of the six introductory states, online sports betting remains illegal. In all six, real-money online casino play is also against the law. Offering these games is another way for DraftKings to acquire customer data if those legal circumstances should ever change.
Additionally, DraftKings’ model in this game is different enough from similar contests that Betr, PrizePicks, and Underdog offer that it should be able to skirt legal issues that those companies have faced.
The big difference is how DraftKings makes money from this game.
Companies like Betr have offered such contests in which they act as the House or players’ opponents. DraftKings’ Pick6, on the other hand, works more like a pari-mutuel pool. In Pick6, players’ competition is each other.
While that might seem like a nuance, recent developments make it a crucial distinction.
Pick’em games against the House face serious threats
Legislators and regulators in multiple US states have taken aim at pick’em games against the House. Among them are Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New York, and Wyoming.
In these cases, officials have balked at the games because of their similarity to parlay prop bets.
In all five of these states, companies like Betr, PrizePicks, and Underdog lack the requisite sports betting licenses to offer such gambling. While there has been some legal ambiguity, bodies are moving to address that.
For example, there is a bill to clearly define both daily fantasy sports and sports wagering in the Florida legislature right now.
By offering Pick6 as a player-banked game, DraftKings likely gets the best of both worlds. It grows its player roll while most likely avoiding regulatory problems.
And, because of DraftKings’ brand awareness, other DFS operators might have the same expression that a quarterback wears after throwing a pick-six.