Mississippi is one of four states in which Underdog Fantasy has unveiled a new version of its pick’em daily fantasy sports game that it says is intended to comply with state regulations.
The new game, called Pick’em Champions, became available Monday. Like its single-player pick’em game, contestants still will be able to select a roster of athletes and choose whether each player will or won’t surpass a selected statistical threshold. However, rather than playing against the operator, the new game will feature contestants playing against each other, like in traditional fantasy games. According to a press release, winners will receive a share of a prize pool.
“We’ve built Underdog to innovate and help sports fans increase their enjoyment with sports, and that is exactly what we are doing with Pick‘em Champions,” Underdog Founder and co-CEO Jeremy Levine said in a statement. “I’m very excited for what comes next. As we continue to evolve Champions, I think it very well could become the best game we offer.”
The Underdog release did not state whether the new game will be free-to-play or require an entry fee.
Mississippi sports betting is legal at only at retail locations. Attempts to pass legislation for online sports betting are ongoing.
Underdog Pledges to Work with Regulators
Besides Mississippi, Underdog’s new game will also be available for play in Alabama, Tennessee and Wyoming. Underdog allows adults aged 18 and up to participate in its fantasy games in Mississippi, Tennessee and Wyoming, while the minimum age is 19 in Alabama.
Several states have acted recently to bar pick’em-style fantasy games as critics have argued such contests tantamount to prop parlays offered by sports betting operators. Among restrictions some states have installed are prohibitions against single-player pick’ems, where the entrant plays against the fantasy operator. In those games, the entrant can win a multiple or fraction of their entry fee depending on the game they choose and the number of correct picks.
In a thread on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) unveiling the new game, Levine noted that some states have insisted fantasy games should not involve single-player games, a position with which Underdog disagrees. Still, Levine added that the company will continue to accept feedback from regulators.
“Our mission is simple: help sports fans increase their enjoyment with sports,” Levine posted. “That means working with regulators to give you exciting fantasy contest formats within the different, legal standards in every state where we offer games.”
Underdog offers single-player pick’em and other types of fantasy games. Pick’em contests are available in 31 states plus the District of Columbia. Fantasy games involving drafts are available in 40 states and D.C.
Underdog Not Only Operator with New Game
Underdog is not the first to unveil a reformed pick’em game. Last week, PrizePicks debuted a free-to-play game in Michigan that works similarly to its single-player pick’em game. Like Underdog, PrizePicks’ free game pits entrants against each other and those who earn the most points in a day from their selections will win a cash prize. The top prize is $250.
PrizePicks, which is not approved to operate in Mississippi, said it plans to roll out its free-play contest nationwide.