Underdog Fantasy and PrizePicks are officially back in Florida.

The daily fantasy sports companies today both launched new peer-to-peer games in the Sunshine States. Underdog Fantasy launched its Pick’Em Champions game, a peer-to-peer daily fantasy sports (DFS) game that allows players to build teams of athletes and predict how they’ll perform against statistical benchmarks.

PrizePicks today launched PrizePicks Arena, a peer-to-peer game that allows users to compete against fellow customers. Users compete for guaranteed prizes in Arena by being placed into groups matching their number of entries, selected entry fee and experience level.

It’s an interesting turn for the operators, as the Florida Gaming Control Commission this past fall sent Underdog Sports, PrizePicks, and Betr cease-and-desist letters asking all three operators  stop “offering or accepting illegal bets or wagers from [Florida] residents” and “conducting any illegal lotteries” within 30 days of Jan. 31.

Peer-to-peer DFS acceptable in Florida?

Underdog Sports, PrizePicks, and Betr all ceased offering single-player fantasy games in Florida at the start of March after receiving the cease-and-desist letters. Paid fantasy sports operators, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and OwnersBox, did not receive such letters from the Florida Gaming Control Commission and continued to offer their peer-to-peer fantasy products in the state.

Pick’em Champions allows players to enter their teams into a tournament where they face off against other users. Tournament winners will share a prize.

An Underdog Sports spokesperson noted Florida regulators have clarified the company’s peer-to-peer products, such as daily and weekly drafts and best-ball contests, can still be offered in the state.

“Florida’s gaming structure and compact are completely unique, though the state has made it clear peer-to-peer fantasy sports are permissible by expressly allowing FanDuel, DraftKings, OwnersBox, Yahoo, and others to offer their fantasy games. So, in addition to our draft contests, we are now also offering our strictly peer-to-peer fantasy contest, Champions, to the millions of fans in the state. We’ve worked with Florida regulators and when they previously asked us to stop offering a product, we did, and we are now following the new blueprint state officials have established,” an Underdog Sports spokesperson said.

The Champions product is now fully live in the state.

PrizePicks also emailed Florida users this morning noting that its Arena game is now available.

The peer-to-peer fantasy sports game pits users against one another in paid prizes instead of against the house.

According to PrizePicks, users compete for guaranteed prizes in Arena by being placed into groups matching their number of entries, selected entry fee and experience level. The game offers users unique opportunities to win prizes for their entries by creating the highest scoring entry within their group.

“Arena is a peer-to-peer game played against other players rather than against the house, this model of games of skill was not subject to scrutiny in Florida. While we prefer state codification for all fantasy games of skill, rather than the common law, we look forward to working with policymakers to protect the DFS games sports fans across Florida love,” a PrizePicks spokesperson told Saturday Down South.

PrizePicks arena email.

Finally positive Florida DFS news

The news comes after a rough several months for DFS operators in Florida. Pick’em games shut down in the state on Friday, March 1.

Florida Gaming Control Commission Executive Director Louis Trombetta notified the operators in the cease-and-desist letters that if the games were not discontinued in the state during the 30-day timeframe, the matter would be referred to the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

“If this cessation is completed within that timeframe, the Commission will deem the company and all its officials, directors, and employees have complied with the demands of the cease-and-desist order, and the Commission will not take further action, including referral to the Office of Statewide Prosecution or to any State Attorney.”

Shortly after the games were discontinued, two bills to fully legalize and regulate DFS in the state died in the final day of the state’s 2024 legislative session.

Sen. Travis Hutson (R-7) introduced SB 1568 in January to regulate DFS in the state through the Florida Gaming Control Commission. The Fantasy Sports Contest Amusement Act would have only allowed peer-to-peer games and traditional draft competitions. It specifically prohibited “contest operators from being a contest participant in a fantasy sports contest that the contest operator offers.”

The bill would have established a $500,000 initial license application and $250,000 renewal fees for license.

After being approved 18-0 in a fiscal policy committee in mid-February, it remained on a special order calendar in the Senate. There were rumblings in the final week of session the bill was scheduled to be discussed on the Senate floor, but those never came to fruition.

A House DFS bill (HB 7081) also was introduced in late February but never moved out of committee.