PrizePicks Tells California AG its Fantasy Sports are Contests of Skill

Posted on: February 20, 2024, 10:29h. 

Last updated on: February 20, 2024, 11:26h.

PrizePicks, looking to protect its most critical operating jurisdiction, has submitted testimony to California Attorney General Rob Bonta. In it are claims its fantasy sports games are contests of skill.

PrizePicks California fantasy sports
PrizePicks has submitted testimony to California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office claiming fantasy sports are contests of skill. The pick’em operator believes skilled players win more, therefore demonstrating its claim. (Image:

The platform is hoping to continue its business in all-important California. Bonta last fall announced his office would review the legality of fantasy sports at the request of state Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).

The testimony comes following last week’s news that the Florida Gaming Control Commission gave PrizePicks — and two other fantasy sports companies that run pick’em games — orders to cease such operations by March 1,

Bonta’s office is fielding public input on the fantasy sports question. On his state office’s website it reads:

Does California law prohibit the offering and operation of daily fantasy sports betting platforms with players physically located within the State of California, regardless of whether the operators and associated technology are located within or outside of the State?”

PrizePick’s legal counsel says the state law doesn’t prohibit such gaming operations. The company is operational in about 30 states, including many states where sports betting isn’t legal, like California.

PrizePicks Makes Case

Since its founding in 2017, PrizePicks has been at the forefront of new fantasy sports concepts, with one such format being pick’em games. Instead of traditional daily fantasy sports — where players assemble a roster of athletes and compete against a pool of other fantasy sports players after paying a contest entry fee — pick’em games involve players assembling a roster of athletes and betting against the house. They seek to determine whether the lineup will go over or under the projected fantasy points the curated team should win.

Florida gaming regulators recently determined that pick’em games violate the state’s gaming laws. The powerful Seminole Tribe, which holds a gaming monopoly across most of the state, supported the legal campaign to force out pick’em platforms. The Florida Gaming Control Commission also told Betr and Underdog Fantasy to exit the Sunshine State.

In California, PrizePicks stresses that state law doesn’t prohibit games of skill, which the company contends fantasy sports and pick’em contests constitute. The company’s submission said data proves that claim, as “skilled players achieve significantly more success” in fantasy sports contests.

Decision Forthcoming

Fantasy sports contests aren’t currently regulated in California, allowing operators to run their games in a gray area. The leading platforms, including DraftKings and FanDuel, are also seeking a legal framework to solidify their operations.

After fielding testimony and public opinion, California’s legal position on fantasy sports will come from Deputy Attorney General Karim Kentfield. Such an opinion isn’t law, but will presumably increase the likelihood of California bringing criminal charges against operators deemed to violate the opinion.

California presently only has laws authorizing commercial cardrooms, tribal casinos, the state-run lottery, pari-mutuel horse race wagering, and charitable gaming. The state’s complicated gaming industry has led to a stalemate in legislative efforts to expand gaming to include sports betting.

Being the country’s most populated state, sportsbook operators have for many years viewed California as a critical asset to come online. Almost six years after the US Supreme Court said sports betting legality is a state’s right to decide, the odds of California joining the nearly 40 other states that have passed sports gambling laws remain long.