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PrizePicks Defends Legality of Daily Fantasy Sports in California

Explore how PrizePicks, a leading DFS operator, defends the legality of daily fantasy sports in California amidst a heated debate. Learn about their arguments, expert support, and the implications for the state's gaming landscape.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Mar 2, 2024

PrizePicks Defends Legality of Daily Fantasy Sports in California

PrizePicks, a leading daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator, has taken a proactive step by submitting a formal letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, staunchly defending the legality of DFS within the state. This move comes amidst a contentious debate spurred by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), which has raised concerns over the legality of the games offered by PrizePicks.

In the letter penned by PrizePicks’ General Counsel, Frederick Woocher, a compelling argument is presented, asserting that DFS contests undeniably meet California's standard for “games of skill.” Woocher's assertion is supported by robust evidence, which forms the cornerstone of PrizePicks' defense against allegations of illegal sports wagering.

 

The Key Points

  1. Legal Argument Based on Skill: PrizePicks asserts that DFS contests qualify as “games of skill” under California law, emphasizing the reliance on participants' knowledge and expertise rather than chance.
  2. Expert Analysis Supports Skill-based Nature: Statistical analysis conducted by Dr. Zvi Gilula, a prominent professor, strengthens PrizePicks' position by confirming the skill-intensive nature of their DFS model.
  3. Implications for California's Gaming Landscape: The ongoing debate surrounding DFS legality in California holds significant ramifications, impacting both DFS operators and tribal gaming interests in the state.

 

 Elisa Richardson, a spokesperson for PrizePicks, reiterated the company's commitment to clarity and compliance, stating, “We hope our comments to Attorney General Bonta will clarify some of the misinformation surrounding DFS.” Richardson emphasized PrizePicks' respect for California's tribal community and sovereignty, underlining their belief that the comments will reinforce the longstanding legality of skill-based games in the state.

The crux of PrizePicks' argument lies in the contention that DFS contests are predominantly games of skill rather than chance. Unlike traditional sports betting, where outcomes are largely dependent on uncontrollable factors, DFS participants utilize their knowledge, expertise, and analytical skills to craft fantasy lineups based on projected player performances.

A noteworthy aspect of PrizePicks' defense is its strategic focus on demonstrating compliance with California's criteria for skill-based gaming. Instead of engaging in a debate over the similarity between DFS parlays and traditional sports betting, PrizePicks has opted to highlight the skill-intensive nature of its contests. Participants are provided with clear information regarding potential winnings before entering contests, and success is determined solely by the application of individual skill and expertise.

 

“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.”

 

To bolster its position, PrizePicks enlisted the expertise of Dr. Zvi Gilula, a distinguished statistics professor affiliated with the University of Chicago. Dr. Gilula's comprehensive statistical analysis unequivocally supports PrizePicks' assertion that its contests are indeed games of skill. In fact, Dr. Gilula's findings suggest that PrizePicks' DFS model surpasses the skill level required by comparable platforms such as FanDuel and DraftKings.

The ongoing debate surrounding the legality of DFS in California has significant implications, particularly considering the state's status as the largest untapped sports betting market in the country. With both DFS operators and federally recognized tribes eagerly awaiting Attorney General Bonta's opinion, the stakes are undeniably high.

 

Conclusions

As the matter rests in the hands of the Attorney General, stakeholders across the spectrum will continue to advocate for their respective positions. It is anticipated that Attorney General Bonta will carefully consider the arguments presented by both sides before issuing a definitive opinion on the matter.

In the interim, it is likely that additional correspondence will be directed towards Attorney General Bonta, as various parties seek to influence the outcome of this pivotal decision. Regardless of the eventual verdict, the discourse surrounding the legality of DFS in California underscores the complex intersection of gaming, skill, and regulation in the modern era.

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