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PrizePicks Defends DFS Legality in California

PrizePicks, a leading DFS operator, takes a stand against allegations of illegal sports wagering in California, defending the skill-based nature of DFS contests in a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta. As legal scrutiny intensifies, the outcome holds significant implications for the future of DFS in the state's lucrative market."
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Feb 16, 2024

PrizePicks Defends DFS Legality in California

PrizePicks, a prominent daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator, has taken a proactive stance in the face of legal uncertainty surrounding its operations in California. In a bold move, the company has submitted a letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, vigorously defending the legality of DFS within the state.

 

The Key Takeaways

  1. PrizePicks, a prominent DFS operator, defends the legality of its operations in California, asserting that DFS contests meet the state's standard for “games of skill.”
  2. The company's letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta challenges misconceptions surrounding DFS, emphasizing its distinction from traditional sports betting and its reliance on individual skill and strategy.
  3. PrizePicks' proactive stance comes amidst heightened legal scrutiny, with the California Nations Indian Gaming Association questioning the legality of DFS offerings, setting the stage for a pivotal legal battle in one of the nation's largest untapped sports betting markets.

 

 The letter, penned by PrizePicks' General Counsel Frederick Woocher, presents a compelling argument asserting that DFS contests unequivocally meet California's standard for “games of skill.” This assertion is crucial, given the ongoing debate over whether DFS constitutes illegal sports wagering, particularly concerning the state's tribal gaming interests.

The timing of PrizePicks' letter is strategic, coming on the heels of a missive from the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) to the Attorney General, challenging the legality of PrizePicks' offerings and characterizing them as illicit sports betting. With California representing one of the largest untapped sports betting markets in the country, the outcome of this legal battle holds significant implications for the DFS industry.

Elisa Richardson, a spokesperson for PrizePicks, provided PlayUSA with a statement underscoring the company's commitment to clarifying misconceptions surrounding DFS:

 

“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.”

 

Central to PrizePicks' defense is the contention that DFS contests are inherently games of skill, rather than games of chance or sports wagering. Notably, the company opted to circumvent debates over the resemblance of DFS to traditional sports betting by focusing on demonstrating compliance with California's skill-based gaming criteria. In its letter to Bonta, PrizePicks articulated:

“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, the letter emphasizes, are fully aware of their potential winnings before entering contests, with outcomes predicated solely on individual skill and strategic decision-making, not random chance.

Crucially, PrizePicks enlisted the expertise of Dr. Zvi Gilula, a distinguished statistician affiliated with the University of Chicago, to bolster its argument. Dr. Gilula's rigorous statistical analysis of PrizePicks' contests yielded compelling findings affirming the skill-based nature of the platform. According to Gilula, “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.”

 

The Conclusions

As the legal saga unfolds, California's DFS operators and federally recognized tribes await the Attorney General's verdict on the matter. In the interim, stakeholders anticipate a flurry of correspondence directed at Bonta's office, reflecting divergent perspectives on the legality and future of DFS platforms within the state.

In conclusion, PrizePicks' proactive defense underscores the company's commitment to navigating legal challenges and upholding the integrity of DFS operations in California. With stakes high and legal uncertainties looming, the outcome of this legal battle will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of the state's burgeoning DFS industry.

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