Daily Fantasy Sports
The idea of daily fantasy sports started to become popular in 1990 when fantasy leagues were published in various newspapers, resulting in a steady and consistently growing audience of players. In 2007, the first DFS sites started to appear, with today's giants FanDuel and DraftKings launching in 2009 and 2012 respectively.
Daily fantasy sports is basically matchup contests between players or teams from real sports leagues and competitions, but on a short term daily or weekly timescale against other contestants for the chance to win money. Read on to learn all about daily fantasy sports.
Top Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
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Best Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
Daily fantasy sports has become big business, especially in the United States, and while there are a growing number of sites breaking into the market, it's still vastly dominated by two main brands, with the third offering a significant enough twist to carve out their own niche.
What you will find at all three of the sites that follow is a quality experience. These guys have become big names in the industry for a reason, offering a unique setup that has managed to attract many hundreds of thousands of loyal fans. Each offers their own welcome bonus, a user-friendly intuitive platform that's accessible on mobile devices, and a range of fantasy sports betting options to keep you amused.
Let's take a look at three of the best daily fantasy sports sites - DraftKings, FanDuel and Monkey Knife Fight - and see what they have to offer.
Many will argue that DraftKings is the absolute best daily fantasy sports site on the internet, and with its loyal following and a player payout to date of over $5 billion, it's hard not to agree!
Offering daily fantasy sports since 2012, DraftKings boasts the biggest platform in the industry, allowing you to play a huge selection of daily and weekly fantasy sports competitions. Sports covered include just about every major league and competition including American football, basketball, golf, tennis and even esports. You have the option to play for free or real money winnings and there are even competitions designed specifically for beginners.
The platform itself has an intuitive layout, making it easy to find your favourite sports competitions in a few clicks, and the nine different contest types give you plenty of ways to win. Why we love this website?
- The most famous in the US;
- Licensed in many states;
- A top-notch website.
Visit DraftKings today.
DraftKings' biggest competitor, FanDuel has been online longer than its rival, since 2009, and has managed to attract a fan base in the millions. Whether you class these guys as your number one over DraftKings all depends on your personal preference.
FanDuel welcomes new members with a $5 bonus on first deposit and the great thing about it is there are no wagering requirements on the winnings before you're allowed to withdraw.
While FanDuel may not have quite the sports coverage of DraftKings, they make up for that with a deep pool of contest types, giving you plenty of ways to win with your favourite sports. In addition to the various guaranteed prize pools, you'll also find beat the score, head to heads, 50/50s and multiplier contests, but another attractive option is the ability to create your own contest. There are some reasons if FanDuel is one of the best DFS sites:
- The best mobile app;
- Fantastic promo for its customers;
- Awesome gaming experience.
Visit FanDuel today.
Monkey Knife Fight
The newest of the three, Monkey Knife Fight launched in 2018 in an already very competitive industry so they knew they had to come up with something unique but still hugely appealing to get a slice of the market. And so they did…
Serving 34 US states and Canada, Monkey Knife Fight turned the idea of daily fantasy sports on its head, offering contests against the house instead of other players. This proved to be a winning formula, with the business-savvy billionaire owner's brand attracting hundreds of thousands of players and paying out six figures every week.
These guys also offer a slightly more generous welcome bonus than others, with 100% up to $50 on offer for your first deposit.
Here you can expect to find coverage of all the major US sports as well as the top esports with contests against the house including More/Less, Rapid Fire and Stat Shootout. Some highlights of this website:
- Hundreds of DFS to choose from;
- Thousand of players each day;
- Amazing and good looking site.
Visit Monkey Knife Fight today.
Sports Offered in DFS
Daily fantasy sports works best in relation to the most popular sports, which is why most contests are based on the top leagues and competitions across the major sports in the country in question. However, due to the growing popularity of esports, you can now find contests involving these at the best daily fantasy sports sites too.
Traditional sports covered include American football, baseball, basketball, boxing, golf, tennis, hockey, racing (cars), MMA and soccer. All the action is usually found in the top leagues, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR and UFC.
Esports fans can also get some prop betting action with many daily fantasy sports sites covering the big ones such as League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Depending on the site you choose, you can win at the team level all the way down to the stats of individual players, and with the range of contests on offer growing all the time, there are always new ways to win!
Legal Situation of Daily Fantasy Sports
The legal situation of the daily fantasy sports industry is an interesting one. The much contested issue is centred around the fact that in many US states, sports betting is illegal but daily fantasy sports is not. Where each state draws the line often comes down to interpretation of the laws in question, which tend to include the Federal Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, amongst others.
What the interpretation of these laws usually boils down to regarding daily fantasy sports is whether it is a game of chance or a game of skill. Since there are elements of both in daily fantasy sports to a certain degree, this is where the contention lies. Some strict states dictate that since there is an element of chance in daily fantasy sports betting, it is deemed to be illegal in that state. Other states recognise that skill plays an important role and have deemed daily fantasy sports legal.
Where are DFS Allowed?
Due to the above-mentioned legal issues that muddy the waters in respect of daily fantasy sports, determining whether or not it is legal comes down to looking up your state or country. Luckily, we've done the hard work for you, creating a nice neat table to help you quickly ascertain whether daily fantasy sports is legal in your state or country.
Simply check the image below to see where playing daily fantasy sports on Fan Duel and DraftKings is allowed or not:
At the time of writing, daily fantasy sports is illegal in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada and Louisiana. However, in many of these states, the case for legalisation is being presented, so it may become legal to bet on daily fantasy sports in the near future.
Playing Daily Fantasy Sports With Real Money
While it is possible to play daily fantasy sports for free, the vast majority of the action involves playing with real money, with the obvious attraction of winning real money in return. But how does it actually work?
When you first join a daily fantasy sports site, you'll usually be offered a welcome bonus of some kind, giving you extra funds to get you started.
Most daily fantasy sports sites also have a beginners section or a selection of contests designed specifically for those who are just starting out in daily fantasy sports betting, so you can familiarise yourself with how it all works and get a taste of the action without fear of being outplayed by sharks.
Playing is as simple as choosing your contest, picking an outcome, selecting your team where relevant, and paying the required entry fee. Different contests pay out differently, with 50/50s paying out a set amount to the top 50% of contestants, while guaranteed prize pools pay out by a tiered system.
Minimum Legal Age to Play
Where it is legal, you tend to find the minimum age for playing daily fantasy sports is 18 years old, though it is 21 in some US states. The sites that offer daily fantasy sports tend to be heavily regulated by their licence issuing authority and as such have a number of measures in place to prevent and discourage underage daily fantasy sports betting.
All sites must carry out player ID checks under the Know Your Customer (KYC) policy. This involves requesting documentary ID from players, such as a copy of an ID card or passport, that provides proof of the player's age, amongst other things.
You'll also notice that almost all daily fantasy sports sites have a section on responsible gambling, within which is usually a section on underage gambling that includes advice on how to protect children from accessing betting sites, such as keeping access to computers monitored, not sharing username and password details, and protecting bank cards.
In the US, efforts have also been made to prevent DFS sites appealing to younger audiences. For example, sites are not permitted to offer contests on college or high school sports.
Payment Methods to Bet on DFS
In general, daily fantasy sports sites offer a wide range of available payment methods to help you add funds to your account. However, the methods that are available to you will depend on what country you live in and may be influenced by the legal situation in that country in respect of daily fantasy sports.
As mentioned above, daily fantasy sports is legal in some US states, but not others. The result of this is that while many daily fantasy sports sites accept popular debit and credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express, you may find your deposit using these methods is rejected, even if you live in a state where it is legal. This is because the issuing bank may be based in or governed by a state where daily fantasy sports is illegal.
However, if you do find yourself in that situation, you can still add funds to your daily fantasy sports account using one of many other available payment methods including Skrill, Neteller, Paysafecard and PayPal.
DFS Tips and Tricks
Since daily fantasy sports is a delicious mix of chance and skill, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of winning!
The first piece of advice would be to start with the beginner contests. Many daily fantasy sports sites have a dedicated beginners section that features contests just for those starting out. This is a great way to get used to how it all works but you also have a much better chance of actually winning in these contests due to the inexperience of most contestants. Just note that after a certain number of games you'll no longer be classed as a beginner and won't be able to participate in the beginner contests from that point.
Controlling your bankroll is super important when it comes to daily fantasy sports betting and you can do this in a number of ways. Most sites offer a welcome bonus and even on-going reload bonuses and it's a good idea to take them as they give you extra funds to play and possibly win with. Just be sure to check the T&Cs for wagering requirements. Another way of managing your bankroll is playing in the contests with lower buy-ins. This makes sense when you think about the fact that the more experienced players will be more confident in staking more money on their contests. You're more likely to win against those with less experience.
Daily fantasy sports is all about the stats so if you want to win more often, start making a habit of following all the sports news and stats websites for extra info that will help your contest choices and team picks. This can and should extend to checking out the odds offered on various events by sports bookmakers. In fact, many DFS sites also offer a sportsbook, making checking odds even easier. These can give you an idea of how the bookmakers think the matches and competitions will go, which might help you in your own decision making!
The last thing to remember is that you will have bad days when things don't work out as planned. No-one can be right 100% of the time! However, if you're a smart DFS player, your losses will be minimal and with the right strategy following the tips above you can ensure you're a winner in the long run.
Daily Fantasy Sports FAQs
Still have questions about daily fantasy sports? Check out our FAQs for more answers.
Can I make money playing daily fantasy sports?
Yes you can! Daily fantasy sports allows you to combine your love for your favourite sports with the flexibility of choosing your contests and the quality of your own insight into the available stats to win real money! With the right strategy, you can pick the contests you're most likely to win, minimise your losses, maximise wins and come out on top in the long run.
What is the best daily fantasy football site?
That is not an easy question to answer! The top three sites mentioned in this article - DraftKings, FanDuel and Monkey Knife Fight - all offer daily fantasy sports betting on American football, but they have their own unique way of doing so. Some offer more contests than others, you'll find more players at one than another, and the available stats tracking the sport may vary from one site to the next too. The site's available bonuses, player rewards and mobile compatibility may also be important to you. Be sure to check out our DFS site reviews to see which one suits you best.
Is daily fantasy sports considered gambling?
That depends on who you ask! In some US states it is considered gambling due to the fact that real money is paid for the chance to win money. In other states it comes down to whether skill or chance is the predominant element and this is what determines the law in that state.
Is it legal to play daily fantasy sports?
That depends on where you live. DFS is legal in many countries around the world but there are a number that do not permit it, including a handful of US states. Check our sections above to see if your country or state permits DFS.
This page was written in 2020 and is now maintained and regularly updated by Dani Wilson. Should you have any questions or see any discrepancies on this page, feel free to reach out to her on firstname.lastname@example.org. The DFS site list at the beginning of the page is revised each month, to ensure we only offer the very best DFS sites to our readers. For a list of references used to create this page, please see below.