PrizePicks Ohio Future Remains Unclear Despite Entering Neighboring Indiana

Written By Mike Breen on July 13, 2023
PrizePicks Ohio DFS Sports Betting

Daily fantasy sports platform PrizePicks recently entered the Indiana market after garnering a temporary license from the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Indiana is the 31st state in which PrizePicks is up and running. One state that PrizePicks, the largest privately held skill-based fantasy sports operator in North America, is not available is Ohio.

Since the state legalized DFS sites in 2017, PrizePicks has been noticeably missing from the Buckeye State’s offerings due to PrizePicks’ format, which focuses on individual player stats.

Such contests fall under the Ohio legal sports betting sector, which launched statewide at the start of 2023. Sports betting licenses are considerably more expensive than DFS licenses, leaving PrizePicks in pinch in Ohio.

PrizePicks users predict the over/under on player stats

PrizePicks describes itself as “daily fantasy made easy.” Unlike other more traditional fantasy sports sites, there’s no drafts, lineup setting or salary caps.

With PrizePicks, users focus on single players, choosing two to six individual player stats then betting on the over/under.

Users can mix and match between sports and stat-types. There are also additional choices that offer higher payouts if all picks win (Power Play) and a safer option (Flex Play) that can win even if all picks do not hit.

PrizePicks allows users to select from all the major sports leagues when it comes to their over/unders, including NFL, MLB, NBA, WNB, NHL, MLS, PGA and NASCAR and Formula 1 racing. In addition, college sports, tennis, international soccer, MMA, esports and even competitive food-eating contests are on the docket.

Ohio prohibits DFS sites from offering proposition selection

The main issue for PrizePicks in Ohio: It appears to be defined as a sports betting site, not a more simple DFS operation.

The section of the Ohio Administrative Code dealing with rules for daily fantasy sports says that fantasy operators cannot allow “proposition selection or fantasy contests that have the effect of mimicking proposition selection.”

The Ohio Casino Control Commission, which regulates DFS and the new Ohio sports betting industry, defines proposition selection as “fantasy contest players choosing whether an identified instance or statistical achievement will occur, will be achieved, or will be surpassed.”

While fantasy sports sites like PrizePicks cannot legally offer them in Ohio, sportsbooks in the state can and do offer an array of player prop bets.

To offer proposition selection, an Ohio online sportsbook would need a Mobile Management Services Provider (MMSP) license and then partner with a Type A retail sportsbook to launch a sportsbook app in the state.

The MMSP license costs $500,000 upfront, while the cost of a fantasy sports operating license in Ohio ranges from $3,000 to $30,000, depending on the number of users the site attracts.

PrizePicks hasn’t shut the door completely on Ohio

PlayOhio reached out to PrizePicks to see if there had been any movement toward Ohio operations, and the company said the statement it provided PlayOhio last summer still stands.

Back then, PrizePicks explained why it wasn’t available in Ohio:

“As it currently stands, there is a specific ban on player-oriented propositions that does not allow operators to offer this category of DFS in the state of Ohio. As a result, PrizePicks has never operated in the state of Ohio at any point during the company’s operations.”

PrizePicks also said that it hadn’t shut the door completely on the prospect of someday coming to the Buckeye State:

“The company continues to have a line of communication open with the state’s key stakeholders and is appreciative of the constructive conversations and shared dialogue to date.”

The PrizePicks website —  which calls its DFS platform “the closest legal alternative to sports betting for the vast majority of North Americans” — notes that it is not available in Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia because “single-player fantasy is currently outlawed” in those states.

Regulators crack down on DFS sites in Ohio

At the OCCC’s May meeting, executive director Matt Schuler said that the commission is investigating some fantasy sports operators for illegally offering sports betting.

During the meeting, commissioners were shown a presentation in which examples of fantasy sports sites offering wagers akin to sportsbooks’ player prop bets.

“These contests,” executive director Matt Schuler said at the meeting of the offending fantasy sports sites, “they offer proposition wagers — which are part of sports gaming — against the house, but (fantasy sports site operators are) trying to call them fantasy contests.”

While the OCCC said sending cease-and-desist letters to operators flouting state law has been effective, it was looking at five unlicensed DFS operators for violations, including “fantasy sports stock exchange” site Prediction Strike and “social sportsbook” Fliff.

DFS options are plentiful in Ohio

There are 17 licensed DFS sites in Ohio. The market, as is the case across the country, is dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel (also the top two sportsbook operators in the state).

The following sites are licensed to offer DFS in Ohio:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Yahoo Fantasy Sports
  • Underdog Fantasy
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship
  • RealTime Fantasy Sports
  • SportsHub Games Network
  • Masters Fantasy Football Leagues
  • No House Advantage
  • OwnersBox Fantasy
  • Jock MKT
  • DataForce Fantasy Football
  • SuperDraft
  • Bettle
  • Verdict MMA
  • GullyCricket
  • Nightery
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Mike Breen

Mike Breen covers Ohio’s budding sports betting industry for PlayOhio, focusing on online sportsbooks and the state’s responsible gambling initiatives. He has over two decades of experience covering sports, news, music, arts and culture in Ohio.

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