Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) have become one of the largest industries in the country and with good reason – people love sports. Instead of having to draft a team at the beginning of the season and be stuck with those athletes, players will have the ability to switch up their team every day, creating a fun experience throughout each sports’ season. The beginning of DFS has been linked back to the early 1990s when a variety of major national newspapers released information about the individual athletes.
Fast forward 30 years and find professional sports leagues in sponsorship deals with DFS operators and even owning equity in one of them (NBA and FanDuel). It even continues down to the individual level, as over half of the NFL teams have a deal with one of the major operators. DFS’s popularity is certainly not up for debate; however, the laws surrounding the industry definitely are. Its legality and considerations by nearly every state of whether or not it constitutes as gambling has scared many from getting started regardless of their state’s outlook.
Does Daily Fantasy Sports Count As Gambling?
If anyone had a firm answer to this question, they’d be able to resolve several legal debates right now. In all honesty, this is a matter of debate, and where you draw the lines as to what is and is not gambling, and how much skill is involved vs how much luck is involved. People that claim that Daily Fantasy is gambling tend to equate it to a series of prop bets, wherein each selection of a player effectively serves as a proxy for a prop bet on that players score. However, those supporting its legality claim it to be a game of skill, and a game that is dominated by the most knowledgeable and technologically capable. Ultimately, the real question is whether or not the state or country you are in defines it as gambling. For example, several states define it as unauthorized online gambling, and do not allow DFS operators within their borders, but most of them are fine with it.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal?
Determining DFS’s legality is all based around the state’s viewpoint on a game of skill or chance. With it being such a grey area, nearly every state’s Attorney General has made a statement on whether paid or unpaid contests are eligible and accepted in their state. Some states have even taken that opinion a step further and passed legislation to regulate and tax the industry.
A federal law known as UIGEA has been the largest concern for daily fantasy. The Act states that funds may not be transferred across state lines that are directed to or from unlawful gambling operations. Because the majority of states have legalized (or not outlawed) DFS, it is not considered “unlawful gambling” and poses no threat to the industry.
What States Don’t Allow Daily Fantasy Sports?
While 19 states have legalized the industry and fully regulated it, there are those on the opposite side who have outlawed DFS. The seven states that do not allow daily fantasy are:
These states are the ones who are excluded from paid contests; however, they are still able to participate in the free events. Most of these states had an unpopular opinion from the AG indicating it was against online gambling laws, considered risking something on a game of chance, or, was too similar to sports wagering.
States With 2020 DFS Legislation
Iowa introduced a measure to legalize daily fantasy and sports betting all at once. IA SF 617 was signed by Governor Kim Reynold in May 2019 which set up licensing and regulations for DFS. A gaming commission was also created and set the minimum age for participation at 21. Alabama was another state that removed themselves off the excluded list as they moved to legalize DFS shortly after Iowa. Governor Kay Ivey signed AL HB 361 into law in early June 2019.
Types Of Daily Fantasy Sports Contests
The types of DFS contests are broken down into two major categories: cash games and guaranteed prize pools. Both of these formats will use a similar method to have you draft your team but may vary in the number of athletes you select, its scoring system, or overall budget amount. Each athlete us represented by a certain value and you must fill your roster and score the most points (or reach a certain level) all while staying in your budget.
The cash games are generally smaller events where there are only a few participants you must go against. You can choose events against one other person and take the majority of their entry fee, a handful of players, or a larger event that splits the pot down the middle. These contests generally only allow for one entry and are advised for beginners before entering the prize pools.
These higher-state events used a tiered system to allocate winners amongst a certain percentage of participants. These events will (frequently) allow for multiple entries but are against hundreds or thousands of other entries. The prizes are much higher, though, as some will give the top finisher $1 million in some cases. Events range in entry fees, some as small as a dime while others cost a few hundred or more.
Of course, free events are permitted as well, with some even coming with prizes that aren’t cash. These satellite contests also come as paid events though, where winners can go to tournaments in person and compete with other winners. Often, only one person per event is fortunate to win, but many satellite contests also give free entries into a higher-priced online tournament.
Daily Fantasy Football
Daily fantasy football is the most popular form of DFS. Operators offer beginner only contests as well as mini events and more. In the standard format, you will draft (1) QB, (2) RB, (2) WR, (1) TE, (1) Flex, and (1) Defense/Special Teams amongst the early, afternoon, night, and Monday night games. Kickers can be drafted in certain formats as well. Contests are also offered, broken down into a certain timeframe of games or even just one particular game. In the one-game events, a total of five players are drafted, where your first pick will come with a percentage boost to their total points. The scoring is similar amongst most platforms; however, each contest can offer certain milestone bonuses so be sure to note which league you are joining.
Daily Fantasy Basketball
Basketball comes next in terms of DFS popularity. These events are set up similar to the football contests as you will draft (2) PGs, (2) SGs, (2) SFs, (2) PFs, and (1) C. There will be opportunities to play amongst the entire schedule of games or just a few. In the daily fantasy basketball contests covering only one team, you will be presented to a format similar to football.
Daily Fantasy Baseball
You will fill your roster as you would like to field a team in reality. Daily fantasy baseball is a dream come true for MLB lovers due to the power of statistics and games being played throughout a long season. Every position is accounted for in your draft with the addition of a Utility player, as the Catcher and 1B position are often interchangeable. Scoring points differs depending on your event but it is all about finding value in the lesser-known athletes.
Other Daily Fantasy Sports
Even though the major sports are offered, there are still opportunities to play a variety of other sports. Each operator is different but daily fantasy sports continues to golf, hockey, NASCAR, MMA, soccer, tennis, arena football, and more. You can even find leagues and contests for the WNBA and esports as well.
Keep in mind that no matter what sport you play, it is all about efficiency. Understanding advanced stats is key to staying on top of daily fantasy, making it easier to get the best bang for your buck. Each fractional point can be the difference between winning $250,000 or only enough to buy a pair of sneakers so finding trends and value are crucial. While some players like to only draft from a few teams the entire season, others find it easier to mix it up throughout the sport. Regardless of your strategy, you’ll want to score the most points (or enough to win) within the salary cap.
The Best Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
Operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings have ruled the DFS industry since their inception. FanDuel is based out of New York while DraftKings has recently set their headquarters in Boston. They attempted, in 2017, to merge into one company but backed out at the last minute as the US Federal Trade Commission informed them they would hold a monopoly and would likely see a trust bust. These sites operate independently but both provide excellent customer service, a variety of contests, and are known to have the most players throughout the country.
Playing At DraftKings
With over 850,000 users winning money in their first paid contest, DraftKings has set the tone for what DFS should be. Over $7 billion has been paid out to winning players since their launch and offer only 20,000 contests per day. They do not care if you are an everyday player or a once a season type, they will still treat you like a king. DraftKings offers contests based on skill level, ones that are for friends only, and can be played on your computer or phone.
Playing At FanDuel
FanDuel is right there with DraftKings as the most popular DFS operators. Both of these companies have even entered into the sports betting industry, pairing with casinos in the states with legal sports betting. For FanDuel, there have been over $4.5 billion in payouts amongst there contests and challenges (NCAA bracket, bingo, homerun derby, etc.). Leagues are able to be played with your friends or across the country with strangers when you are on FanDuel.
How Much Does It Cost To Play DFS?
This is entirely up to you. Both of these operators offer hundreds of free events every day. While some of them offer prizes, such as tickets into paid contests, free play, and more, the majority of them are just for fun. The paid contests begin as low as a penny but the big money prizes won’t be found here. For the $1 million purses, the general cost is anywhere from $3 to $20 per contest, but entry fees can run as high as double-digit thousands, depending on the event. It is important to play at your own risk, but feel free to join 10 $1 competitions or 1 $10 contest – the choice s yours.
Another reason to go with the big players in DFS is the bonus systems they employ. Both new and existing DraftKings members are often eligible for signup and deposit bonuses, respectively. These vary based on the time of year and promoted sports leagues, but typically, new players can get a “free play” ticket for their first league entry. DraftKings currently is offering a free $3 ticket with a deposit of $5 or more. New depositors and other players will often be eligible for free tickets and other perks that they can redeem via the site’s Frequent Player Points system.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel also offers a selection of bonuses for new and returning players. Promos include free entry into the site’s signature Sunday Million contest, as well as access to a rotating selection of no-fee leagues with real payouts and multiple chances to win. Right now, players can also get a $20 bonus when making their first-ever deposit. Users can also earn FanDuel Points as a reward for consistent play, user referrals, and the like.
What Is The Minimum Age To Play Daily Fantasy Sports?
Like the laws surrounding DFS, the minimum age to participate is set by the state. To play daily fantasy sports in Alabama requires players to be 19 while those in states like Iowa and Massachusetts must be 21. In general though, players must be 18 or older to get started. You will have to verify your personal information when withdrawing, so do not attempt to sign up underage, as the consequences are not worth the benefits.
How Do I Deposit Into My DFS Account?
Depositing is extremely simple, as you can use a credit card to get started (though the type is dependent on the operator) With sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, they ensure your personal and card information is secure, as all transactions are safeguarded by SSL and they lock your information in a vault afterward. PayPal makes it very easy to transfer money to your account as well. Either way, you will likely be rewarded with a promotion or bonus for signing up.
Withdrawing From My DFS Account
PayPal is the most common way to receive your funds. Before they will hand over the dough though, you will have to verify your address, birthday, and social security number. This will ensure you only have one account with the operator and that they are able to verify your age. You can also receive payouts in the form of a check, but these take much longer than the 48 hours associated with PayPal. After half a week to process the check, it should be at your door in less than 2 weeks.
Where Can I Play College Football DFS?
College daily fantasy has been in constant turmoil since the main companies started offering it. The NCAA has a strong opposition to any form of gambling and has given unfavorable opinions of college DFS in a variety of ways. They do not allow advertising during Big Ten or Pac 12 events and the SEC has a handshake agreement to not even discuss it on broadcasts. ESPN followed suit and did not allow DFS advertisements during the College Football Playoffs or the NCAA Tournament.
DraftKings and FanDuel both offered college DFS but stopped in early 2016. However, once PASPA was repealed two years later, both of them recontinued operations and offer college daily fantasy sports in over half of the states. You can enter paid or unpaid contests when it comes to collegiate events as long as you are located in AK, CA, CT, DC, FL, GA, IL, KS, KY, MI, MN, NE, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI, or WY.
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