How do daily fantasy sports work?

daily fantasy sports
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Daily fantasy is a popular subset of fantasy sports and is rapidly gaining traction across the world. According to US federal law, fantasy sports are considered a game of skill rather than gambling (which is primarily chance-based). This means they are legal throughout much of the country. 

To put it simply, the main attraction of daily fantasy sports is the fact that they take place over relatively short time spans. For some sports, including basketball and baseball, contests tend to last no more than one day. Other daily fantasy sports, including NFL football, usually run for a couple of days to a week. 

But what exactly are daily fantasy sports? Let’s have a look.

Daily fantasy sports in brief

Ultimately, daily fantasy sports is a rapidly growing industry that looks set to continue growing in the coming years. It brings excitement to sports which people otherwise wouldn’t usually watch or even care about. And, on top of this, it gives players the chance to win decent amounts of money through a skill-based game. 

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What are daily fantasy works?

In short, daily fantasy sports involve different types of contests where players compete against other participants in an attempt to score the highest number of points and finish 'in the money'. 

Usually, competitors are required to select a specified number of athletes from a certain game or group of games taking place within a pre-defined time period. These players will then score points according to their performance during the game. 

For example, if you’re competing in a game of basketball daily fantasy, you might be required to select eight players from two specified games. To make things more complicated, you will usually be given a salary cap that you have to work with. Different players will cost different amounts to draft, which means you won’t be able to simply select the best players from each team. 

The athletes you choose will score points based on metrics like the number of shots, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and turnovers they make. At the end of the game, the number of points you score will be compared to the number scored by others in your league. If you score the most points, you will win the main cash prize.  

How do I start playing daily fantasy sports?  

The easiest way to start playing daily fantasy is to sign up with an online daily fantasy sports company. There are a few different companies working in the US, but the most popular are undeniably FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo! Sports.

Once you’ve signed up for an account, you will need to deposit a few dollars, choose your first daily fantasy sports contest, and draft your first team. The major fantasy platforms offer decent tutorials and guidance, so be sure to check them out before you get started. 

Although daily fantasy sports are legal under US federal legislation, some states still don’t allow them. Before you start playing, it’s important to ensure you’re not in a state where fantasy sports are illegal. 

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the states where DraftKings and FanDuel (the two largest daily fantasy sports providers in the US) remain unavailable as of March 2020.  Or rather, because they're available in 43 US states, we've listed out where they're unavailable:  

  • Louisana
  • Nevada
  • Washington
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Hawaii
  • Montana

If you live in one of the seven states outlined above and would like to participate in daily fantasy, it’s worth staying up to date with the latest developments. Both providers are working hard to legalize their platform across the country.  

Gambling responsibly

You probably don't need us to tell you that any form of gambling comes with serious risks and should never be undertaken as a silver bullet to solve your financial troubles. It's worth remembering the phrase...the house always wins!

If you suffer from a gambing problem or suspect somebody you know does, then we strongly suggest that you give the National Problem Gambling Hotline a call on 1-800-522-4700 to discuss it with a professional. It’s so important to make gambling safer for yourself and loved ones.

Daniel Blechynden

Daniel is a freelance copywriter with over six years experience writing for publications such as TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Hosting Review. He specializes in B2B and B2C tech and finance, with a particular focus on VoIP, website building, web hosting, and other related fields.