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PrizePicks Defends California Daily Fantasy Sports Amid Pushback From Tribes

Written By J.R. Duren on February 16, 2024
Conflict Of Interest Blocks On Cash

PrizePicks, a daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator, has submitted a letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta defending the legality of DFS.

In the letter, PrizePicks’ General Counsel Frederick Woocher argued there’s sufficient evidence to prove that DFS meets the state’s standard for “games of skill.”

PrizePicks spokesperson Elisa Richardson provided PlayUSA with the following quote:

“We hope our comments to Attorney General Bonta will clarify some of the misinformation surrounding DFS. 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.”

The operator’s letter comes after the California Nations Indian Gaming Association sent a letter to the AG arguing that the type of games that PrizePicks offers are illegal sports wagering. At stake is the largest untapped sports betting market in the country.

PrizePicks’ arguments rest on contention that DFS contests are games of skill

A common argument against DFS apps is that they offer betting opportunities that resemble those bettors would find in a sports betting app. For example, PrizePicks offers parlays in which bettors must wager on the performance of at least two players.

Instead of arguing whether DFS parlays violated the state’s prohibition on sports betting, PrizePicks chose to prove that DFS apps meet the state’s “skill” requirement for gaming. PrizePicks argued in its letter:

“Unlike typical fantasy sports contests, participants use their knowledge, expertise, and acquired statistical analysis skills to pit their fantasy lineups against projected fantasy sports point or single-statistic totals rather than against the fantasy lineups of fellow participants.

PrizePicks contestants instead know exactly what they can win prior to entering the contest, and whether they win is entirely based on the application of their own skill, knowledge, expertise, and analysis, not on the selections of random other players.”

A study by prominent statistician supports PrizePicks’ ‘game of skill’ position

In addition to citing other state law and previous court cases, PrizePicks enlisted the help of Dr. Zvi Gilula, a statistics professor who teaches at the University of Chicago and is a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

Gilula did a statistical analysis of PrizePicks’ contests and found that “the data unquestionably support the finding that PrizePicks is a game of skill–and in fact, in many ways, is more skillful than the versions of DFS currently offered by FanDuel and DraftKings in California.”

What’s next for California DFS?

In short, the state’s DFS operators and federally recognized tribes will have to wait to hear the attorney general’s opinion on the matter. In the meantime, we should see more letters arriving at Bonta’s desk arguing for and against DFS platforms.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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