Words By @TheKidSkoob
As someone with over 10 years experience playing fantasy sports, daily fantasy leagues like FanDuel and Draft Kings have been like that best friend you wish you never had. Allow me to make sense of it all.
Such as many things in life, there are two types of people who participate in fantasy sports: The recreational fan, and the fanatic! And chances are, if you actually compete in FanDuel and/or Draft Kings, you’re most likely going to be the latter type. Me, I absolutely fall under the fanatic. In fact, I’ve got all the characteristics that the creators of the apps had in mind. I’m overly competitive, knowledgeable in sports – self-proclaimed guru, actually – I love winning money, and I’m also optimistic. The downside to all of this is that I absolutely hate losing money and/or throwing it away! And I know what you’re thinking, “Hey man, you’re a gambler.” I don’t like to look at it that way. I mean, I’m not betting on things that I know nothing about, nor am I waging ridiculous amounts of money, simply because I have a “hunch” that I’m right. Nope, I’m actually the frugal competitor, which is probably my downfall.
The daily fantasy sports apps are designed for you to wage anything from zero dollars to well over $1,000. And the more you’re willing to gamble, the higher the pay out and the fewer competitors you have to defeat in order to emerge victorious. Now, being that I don’t like to lose or throw money away, I typically wage no more than $10 at a time, playing in the $1 dollar games. Going about it this way gives me the chance to enter in 10 different lineups within the same competition. An example of what I’m talking about would be an NBA competition that guarantees a payout of $4,000. The game allows for a maximum of 4,705 competitors, but rarely ever fills up to that amount, as many people simply enter in multiple lineups. The first place winner takes home $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $200, all the way down to 501st – 920th places taking home a whopping $2.00! So basically, you can double your investment by simply finishing in the top 920 people. It doesn’t sound so bad when the room typically maxes out around 2,500-3,000 folks. Now if you’re a bit more of a “baller” and don’t really care about potentially throwing away a few hundred bucks, you could play a $3,000 game that carries a $300 entry fee. A game like this only has a max of 11 competitors and pays 1st – 3rd place. However, it’s unlikely that you can enter more than one lineup in a competition like this, which makes your odds of winning less likely.
So now that you’ve got a bit of an understanding of how these apps work, you’re left with the question as to whether or not this falls under the definition of “gambling.” And by definition, gambling means: to play games of chance for money. So yes, by definition FanDuel and Draft Kings are gambling applications. Does this make it wrong? Well that honestly depends on who you’re asking. Because these apps are merely an extension of fantasy sports, which can be played for free, or money can be involved. Fan Duel and Draft Kings each have free games within the app, so the loophole exists. In fact, everything was moving along swimmingly, until a Draft Kings employee won $35K and was accused of cheating. This situation launched a global assault on the two apps by the FBI, who view the two sites as legalized gambling. And we all know that gambling isn’t legal in every state in this great country of ours. The ongoing legal battle looks like it will eventually result in the banning of the two sites in states where gambling isn’t permitted. But for now, we New Yorkers can still enjoy these apps while we still can.
I, personally, have a love-hate relationship with both apps. In fact, I began with FanDuel, but moved over to Draft Kings because I was looking to change my luck. For a quick second, that switch actually held true. I’ve always relied upon my own skill and knowledge when it came to selecting players for a competition, but Rotoworld provided this glorious science behind DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) that could possibly make a winner out of you, the reader. And the logical breakdown isn’t specific to just Draft Kings, it also applies to FanDuel, if that’s your app of choice. They each offer similar opportunities to win, but the layout on Draft Kings is a bit easier to follow and understand. DK’s player valuation and set-up is also the more preferred of the two, for me. I suggest trying your hand at each before committing to one over the other.
But one thing I will say about FanDuel is they’re extremely slow with matching your initial investment. I began playing a little over a year ago and I still haven’t received the full “gift” that I was initially promised. In fact, I actually just sent them a complaint about this, so we’ll see how that goes.
In closing, despite me losing more than I’ve won on each of the two sites, I am in favor of their existence. As an avid fantasy football and basketball competitor, DFS leagues give you a chance to compete and win within the long – and rather grueling – regular season. These apps also allow you to participate in fantasy sports with some of the players you like, but happened to miss in your respective league drafts. And while I ultimately believe they’ll be shut down in our great state of New York, I do encourage you to take advantage while we still can. After all, nothing says welcome to 2016 like winning thousands of dollars!