Maine Sports Betting Officials Crack Down on Daily Fantasy Sites

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jul 3, 2024 12:00 AM
Maine sports betting officials recently decided to join the list of states cracking down on daily fantasy betting sites in 2024.

Daily fantasy sites recently caught the attention of Maine sports betting officials. And they have since left the market because of it.

Regulators of sports betting in Maine announced earlier this year that five daily fantasy sites need to leave the state. Here is the full list, courtesy of the Maine Gambling Control Board: 

  • Data Force Fantasy
  • Bidventures Fantasy
  • Underdog Fantasy
  • Boom Shakalaka Fantasy
  • Sportshub Fantasy

This news is not exactly surprising on many levels. In recent months, plenty of states have forced DFS sites out of their market. Concerns have increasingly mounted that daily fantasy operators too closely mirror the general online sportsbooks in the United States. And because these DFS companies aren’t licensed to offer sports betting—or necessarily licensed to provide services at all–regulators have started pushing them out. 

Such a shift is going to change the daily fantasy sports business forever. Some believe it could soon fade out, or that it could wind up falling under the general legal sports betting umbrella. Complicated still, many states have not even given daily fantasy sports sites the option of paying or applying for a different license to stick around.

Is this what happened in Maine? And what does yet another state nudging DFS operators out of the market mean for the industry at large? Let’s try to unearth some answers.

Maine Sports Betting Officials Apparently Gave DFS Sites a Chance to Remain Operational

Contrary to what has unfolded with other regulators, Main sports betting officials apparently gave daily fantasy operators a chance to stick with the Pine Tree State. Ultimately, though, the companies did not want to pay the fees associated with what they proposed. Here is Legal Sports Report’s Sam MacQuillan more:

“A spokesperson with the Massachusetts Gambling Control Board said the operators made ‘business decisions’ and decided not to renew their licenses. ‘In states across the country, we make business decisions on where to offer our games, and we chose to not pursue a renewal of our fantasy sports license in Maine,” an Underdog spokesperson said. LSR could not locate contact information for the other four companies.”

This makes it sound as if Maine sports betting regulators are not following the lead of other states. Daily fantasy sites were operating with actual licenses. And it doesn’t seem as if officials were concerned about the nature of Pick ‘Em Games

Did Maine Actually Crack Down on Daily Fantasy Sites?

At the same time, just because Maine gave DFS operators the chance to stay doesn’t mean they weren’t re-evaluating the industry. In fact, the gambling control board issued a massive fine to Underdog Fantasy towards the end of 2023. As MacQuillan explained:

“Maine issued Underdog a $391,850 fine in October after the company failed to comply with a complaint that alleged its pick’em product was de facto sports betting. In an initial response, Underdog maintained it offered ‘flexible fantasy contests’ that allow ‘customers to select their own scoring parameters rather than being locked into an operator’s grid of fantasy points.’ Following the fine, Underdog said it would comply with the ban but looked forward to a final decision that agreed with its interpretation of the law.”

In essence, it sounds like Maine would allow daily fantasy sites to remain inside the state, but they would not permit the continued offering of Pick ‘Em contests. This, naturally, is a no-go for most DFS operators. Unless they have a general sportsbook in their portfolio, these games are their biggest money-makers.

Of course, DFS sites might agree to stick around in limited capacities with other markets—you know, large markets. The Maine daily fantasy sports market is not that. The state ranks 42nd in total population, according to StatsAmerica.org. Maine sports betting revenue in itself is at a modest number. The pool of daily fantasy players is even smaller—particularly if you’re removing Pick ‘Em Competitions from the ledger.

More and More States are Taking Aim at Daily Fantasy Sites

While the circumstances don’t quite qualify as an outright exodus, Maine did effectively force out daily fantasy sites with their interpretation of Pick ‘Em Games. And that means they have continued what’s fast becoming a growing trend–if not a country-wide standard.

More and more states are making headlines for viewing Pick ‘Em Competitions as, basically, sports betting transactions operating outside the scope of licenses. Roughly one-dozen states have already bounced DFS companies from their region. More are expected to follow suit. Most recently, we saw Massachusetts send cease and desist letters to the top DFS sites.

This raises the question of what the future looks like for daily fantasy operations. Will they become obsolete? Be forced to pay higher fees to offer their Pick ‘Em Competitions? Will they just have to carry on without those contests? 

As of now, it’s much too early to tell. And for what it’s worth, Maine has not forced out every single DFS operator. Six companies still have active daily fantasy licenses in Maine: DraftKings, FanDuel, Fantasy Football Players Championship, Yahoo, Realtime Fantasy Sports and Splash Sports. Perhaps this list shrinks or evaporates entirely as licenses expire. For now, it’s evidence that DFS still has a place in the United States. 

Still, there’s no denying the waves of change taking place. Maine sports betting officials may be prepared to let DFS sites remain in restricted forms. But other state regulators have not even been that flexible. And so, fast forward a few years from now, and it wouldn’t surprise us if daily fantasy sites have substantially winnowed down in number. 

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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