By Ron Mintz
If you’ve watched any kind of sports in the past 5 years, you’ve probably heard of Daily Fantasy Sports. The concept of Fantasy Sports has been around since the late 1950’s: Pick an imaginary team of real players and compete based on the statistical performance of those players in actual games.
With the advent of the internet, and particularly in the past five years, contests evolved from season-long competitions to today’s Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS.) In fact, pay-to-play DFS has become the norm, and it’s experiencing record growth.
Is It Legal?
The federal government defines fantasy sports as a game of skill, as opposed to gambling. That means that sites like DraftKings and FanDuel can pay real money to winners as long as they make prizes known in advance and results are based on actual player performances.
How Do I Start?
Playing DFS is simple. Choose a site where you want to play. Set up an account, create an anonymous user name, and deposit money into your account via a credit or debit card. (DraftKings will even give you a bonus and match your first time deposit!) The amount you deposit is up to you, based on how many games or sports you want to participate in. You now have 24/7 access to check on your team(s), results, winnings and upcoming events.
Next, select your roster of players. Let’s talk golf. You’re allotted $50,000 in play money to pay the salaries of six golfers from the PGA Tour. Each player’s price is based on his past performance in real tournaments on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods might cost $12,000; if you select him you’ll have $38,000 left to spend on your five other players. This is where the skill comes in. It helps to know a little bit about the sport and the players, but you don’t have to do the research on your own. All DFS sites provide stats showing the players’ past and recent performances, as well as how many fellow DFS players have selected this player. The goal is to buy the best team you can with your $50,000.
How Are Games Played?
There are many different games each day in each sport.
- Guaranteed Cash: The DFS site guarantees a certain amount is paid out regardless of how many players enter.
- Beginner Games: Some games are limited to just twenty people who have been playing DFS for less than thirty days, giving even the inexperienced player a great chance to win.
- 50/50 Games: If you finish in the top 50% of players you double your money. Most of these are limited to just 20 entrants; if your entry fee is $10 and you finish 10th out of 20, you win $20.
- Free Games: No prizes, but you gain experience while having fun.
There are ongoing promotions that offer free tickets into large games, and most sites pay you FPP’s (frequent player points) based on each dollar you spend. You can accumulate FPPs and spend them on merchandise, tickets to upcoming contests, or even trips to professional sports events.
Now the next time you see one of those commercials on TV, you’ll know a little more about what they’re advertising—and may even want to join the fun!
Ron Mintz is an internationally-recognized radio personality and speaker, and writes for The Sporting News, ESPN and The Golf Channel. He shares his in-depth knowledge of all things golf on his website, www.MintzGolf.com. Get the inside scoop on what’s happening on all the Tours by following him on Twitter @PGATourNews and on Facebook at MintzGolf.