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Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin carries the puck as we examine PrizePicks new free-to-play pick'em game launching in Michigan.
Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the New York Rangers at Little Caesars Arena on Nov. 10, 2022. Gregory Shamus / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The largest daily fantasy sports provider in the North American market is on the cusp of making its popular daily fantasy sports game free-to-play for its customers. A PrizePicks pick‘em offering will commence in Michigan first with the slogan "PLAY FOR FREE. WIN FOR REAL. EVERY DAY!" before a larger rollout across North America in the near future. Michigan already features a full slate of offerings from our best sports betting apps.

Previously, PrizePicks had been content with a pay-only model for their DFS offering. Still, it appears that expanding its reach through a free-to-play platform into the Michigan sports betting scene is a new direction for the company in the future. 

According to Brian Huss, VP of Innovation, PrizePicks, "We're thrilled to launch our newest offering on PrizePicks, a fun free-to-play game. This new free-to-play format is the first of new game types to come and opens the door for us to reach sports fans who may not already be familiar with PrizePicks."

More details of the free-to-play offering

PrizePicks, for those who sign up for their free-to-play experience, will be granted 1,000 points to play with every day. They can be used to make picks daily, including single and multi-player. Points essentially take the place of currency for real money gaming. How you use the points is up to you. Points can be used on a couple of picks or several smaller ones any day. Several Michigan state promos are already available, and this is another new innovative approach.

Prizes will be available for players who finish each day with more than the 1,000 points they started with. Real money prizes are available to those players who finish in the top 100 on a given day. First, second, and third-place finishers will win $250, $150, and $100, respectively. 

Additional rules can be viewed by clicking here.

Pick'ems under scrutiny

DFS providers in U.S. legal sports betting markets have been enduring the wrath of regulators in a few states. Those regulators are trying to clear the blurred line between betting against the house, which Michigan sports betting apps offer, and DFS providers, which have users playing against other users. 

It is unclear if PrizePicks' new free-to-play option is in direct response to that.

Regulators in Michigan and New York have already moved to ban pick'em contests from DFS providers. Colorado only did the same last week to clear up the lines between fantasy gaming and legal sports betting.

PrizePicks lawyers, at that time of the Colorado decision, said, “… I would lament, candidly, this division going from one of the most progressive in the nation in terms of what it allowed and recognized as fantasy sports to one of the most restrictive regimes in the nation who have now codified a version of fantasy sports that seems to stop recognition at and around 2016.”

The future

It is unclear how the decision to limit real money pick'em contests will affect such companies as PrizePicks. However, DFS providers are still expanding offerings in various jurisdictions nationwide.

Colorado is the latest state to ban such pick'em contests for DFS providers, and Michigan, where PrizePicks has just gotten green-lighted to launch free-to-play contests, has already banned such real money offerings.

Big sports betting providers, including two of the biggest DFS providers-turned sportsbooks in America — FanDuel and DraftKings — stand to benefit as their full-fledged sportsbooks suck up the oxygen created by Fantasy pick 'em contests.