What Are Daily Fantasy Sports?

Fantasy Sports are nothing new; thousands of people play them all over the world, using a variety of sports. The procedure is simple: players pay a set fee into a pool to enter, then they have to build a team of professional athletes is a particular sport. That team then “competes” against others every week, using the actual statistics and performances of players in real life to award points to each fantasy team. At the end of the season, the fantasy team with the most points wins the Fantasy League.

Daily Fantasy Sports, or DFS, takes the same principle and speeds it up. Instead of an entire season, leagues will last a day or a week. Structured as short, paid competitions usually called a “contest”, DFS require players to pay an entry fee. This is then used to pay a “rake” to the house, with the rest split into dividends that pay a range of prizes to the top players, depending on where they finish on the table.

Big Business Betting

More than 1.5 million Americans alone play DFS every year, spending more than $1 billion in entry fees, and it is increasingly popular in other countries. In return for their entry fee, payers are usually given a “money cap” in fake money or points. They must use this amount to buy the best players they can. Of course, players are priced at different amounts, so the trick is assembling the best possible team within your money cap.

Football, baseball, basketball and hockey are the most played DFS options, but fans can also try NASCAR, soccer, golf, mixed martial arts, cricket, horse racing and eSports. College football and basketball also features on some sites, giving players access to another roster from which to pick their teams.

Dominating The Game

The two biggest names in DFS are FanDuel, which numbers the National Basketball Association among its supporters, and DraftKings, which is backed by Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, among others. The National Football League has no direct relationship with either site, although most individual football franchises within the NFL do.

But those are not the only games in town: betting enthusiasts can also enjoy DFS at site like Draft, Yahoo and FantasyDraft.

Different Bets, Different Prizes

Especially at the upper end of the market, DFS is dominated by the strongest players, so it can be difficult for newcomers to break into. Luckily, apart from the games for high rollers that can cost $10,000 to enter, there are also plenty of options available at the lower end of the market. Some games are even free, or can cost as little as 25c to enter.

Prizes can also vary greatly. Some games offer a Guaranteed Prize Pool, with several top prizes on offer, whether or not a full pool competes. A Head-to-Head match pits two players against each other, with the winning player scooping the entire pool. Some DFS matches even play according to a 50/50 prize format: meaning the top 50% of the field almost doubles their investment, while the lower half of the field wins nothing.