Missouri Regulators Send Cease-And-Desist Letters To DFS Operators

Written By Hill Kerby on March 28, 2024
A picture of a cease-and-desist letter for a story about Missouri cracking down on certain DFS operators.

Missouri daily fantasy sports operators received a clear message from the Missouri Gaming Commission earlier this month to cease and desist all player vs. house offerings. 

The letter, which PlayMissouri’s sister site LegalSportsReport acquired, was signed by Nikki D. Evans, the commission’s deputy general counsel, on March 19.

Missouri state law clearly delineates between daily fantasy sports contests and sports betting. According to Evans’s letter, DFS contests must 

  • Only be peer-to-peer (not against the house)
  • Have outcomes based on accumulated statistical results of athletes in sporting events

Letter warns DFS operators to not offer pick ’em or parlay betting

With Missouri sports betting still illegal, participating in daily fantasy sports in Missouri is the only way for sports fans in the Show Me State to wager on sports. Missourians have access to eight daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites, including industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel.

DFS players can take comfort in knowing all these sites are licensed and regulated. Players’ funds and personal information are safe and secure, and it’s easy to get involved in the action.

The letter from the Missouri Gaming Commission says that no winning outcome can be based on the score, point spread or any performance of a team or combination of teams. Lastly, no individual athlete’s performance can solely determine a winning outcome, as that constitutes a prop bet.

“The commission has maintained that fantasy sports contests pursuant to Missouri law are those that are peer-to-peer and not subject to the operator being the winning participant.”

The MGC letter asserts that operators may be offering various games that violate the above rules, such as pick ‘em, parlay and other player vs. house-style contests. 

“Accordingly, if any MGC-licensed fantasy sports contest operators are presently offering platforms that consist of player vs. house contests in which the operator could ultimately be the winning participant, pick ’em contests, parlay-type contests or other contests that have the effect of mimicking sports wagering, the commission would direct that these operators cease and desist those offerings and only offer peer-to-peer contests in Missouri that are consistent with state statutes, rules and regulations.” 

Other states cracking down on DFS contests

DFS operators find themselves facing regulatory battles in other states outside of Missouri.

Three operators exited the Florida market in February – Betr, Underdog Fantasy and PrizePicks – due to their player vs. house models coming under fire from the Florida Gaming Control Commission.

Underdog has also pulled its DFS pick ’em product in North Carolina and switched to a peer-versus-peer model in Arizona to remain in business.

Similarly, PrizePicks and Underdog moved to peer vs. peer models in Massachusetts and avoided cease-and-desist letters in the Bay State. The other 10 DFS operators in the state received letters and have since changed their models to remain in compliance.

Colorado could be the next domino to fall. The state outlawed player vs. house games in January. Lawmakers voted to include pick ’em-style games in the ban on March 21.

Photo by PlayMissouri
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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