Underdog Fantasy is moving forward with responsible gaming efforts in the form of GuardDog, a unique investment initiative. Meanwhile, the state of Michigan has decided to begin prohibiting prop pick ‘em style games with fantasy sports apps just a week after the state of New York made a similar decision.
The Coalition for Fantasy Sports looked to defend the popular games for sports fans in the Wolverine State, albeit unsuccessfully.
Underdog Fantasy Introduces GuardDog Responsible Gaming Initiative
As responsible gaming continues to be a bigger part of the conversation in fantasy sports, Underdog Fantasy has just announced GuardDog, an initiative looking to expand responsible gaming efforts moving forward. According to USA Today, the company has also invested $1 million into the initiative.
Responsible gaming has clearly become a larger focus for Underdog Fantasy. Days before GuardDog was unveiled, Underdog brought on Adam Warrington, the former Vice President of Responsible Gaming for FanDuel. Meanwhile, GuardDog will look to support companies looking to push the responsible gaming forward.
We are proud to announce GuardDog, our Responsible Gaming innovation fund.
We're investing $1,000,000 into GuardDog to support the growth of tomorrow's Responsible Gaming startups and tools that will keep future generations of fantasy sports players safe.
Read more here:…
— Underdog Fantasy (@UnderdogFantasy) October 9, 2023
Pick ‘em Prop Contests Will No Longer Be Allowed In Michigan + New York
The launch of GuardDog comes at an interesting time for platforms like Underdog Fantasy. Michigan has recently decided to ban fantasy sports platforms from offering any pick ’em style prop games going forward. These games are popular on platforms such as Underdog and competitors such as PrizePicks.
This decision has been gaining momentum since August of 2023, when the Michigan Gaming Control Board introduced the idea. The proposal was then accepted by the Michigan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
Proposition pick ‘em contests essentially involve predicting how a player will perform, such as whether Travis Kelce will have over or under 70.5 receiving yards in a game. A main argument is that these games mirror player prop bets that are available with standard online sports betting apps.
Because these types of games are available on daily fantasy contests rather than standard mobile sportsbooks, the argument has been made that an operator would need a sports betting license in order to offer these games.
New York also banned fantasy pick ‘em games just a week ago. As is the case in Michigan, standard daily fantasy contests will still be available in the area, minus the ability to participate in any pick ‘em prop games.
MICHIGAN: Time is running out. Soon, your favorite fantasy sports games could be banned in the Wolverine State. Take 30 seconds now to tell MI lawmakers to save fantasy sports — https://t.co/XbQNHQPfWs pic.twitter.com/l3ZSTihMMg
— Coalition for Fantasy Sports (@CoalitionFS) September 15, 2023
Coalition for Fantasy Sports Fought Back Against Michigan Ban
The Coalition for Fantasy Sports was against the decision to ban prop pick ‘em games in Michigan, looking for support from residents. The Coalition is an advocate group focused on daily fantasy sports, with the organization collaborating with platforms such as Underdog Fantasy, PrizePicks, and Sleeper.
The Coalition for Fantasy Sports was active on social media in its efforts to protect these games for daily fantasy sports players. This included posting links to its website, which would direct fantasy sports fans to enter their information and submit an email asking Lansing lawmakers for a meeting with the Michigan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to further talk over the proposed rules.
In all, efforts from the Coalition for Fantasy Sports helped drive over 700 calls and 2,600 emails calling for a veto by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. However, these efforts unfortunately proved unsuccessful, as the 15-day period for potential meetings for amendments came and went with no traction.
With two states moving forward with fantasy sports restrictions in two weeks, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that other states could prohibit prop pick ’em games going forward.