DraftKings Review

  • Established: 2012
  • Website: http://www.draftkings.com
  • Mobile Compatible: Yes
  • Cashout Time: 3 days to process, and 2-7 additional days to receive

DraftKings offers legal skill games in the United States. The company operates out of Massachusetts and is governed by applicable state laws there.

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Bonus Details
  • One Free Entry to a Paid Game
  • 100% First-Time Deposit Bonus
  • Refer-A-Friend Bonus

Read more about the bonuses...

Banking Options
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • Discover
  • American Express

Read more about the banking options...

Sports Available
  • Fantasy Football (Pro and College)
  • Fantasy Baseball
  • Fantasy Basektball (Pro and College)
  • Fantasy Hockey
  • + More

Read more about the sports available...

Overview

DraftKings is a Massachusetts based company which offers short-term fantasy sports contests for real money. Instead of committing to an entire season, you can play in daily fantasy baseball contests or weekly fantasy football contests. Along with FanDuel, DraftKings.com is one of the two leaders in this new niche industry.

The buy-ins to these contests work like the sit-and-go tournament model at online poker sites. For example, if you're buying into a $10 contest, you might pay $11 to enter. $10 of your entry fee goes into the prize pool for that contest; the other $1 is a commission that goes to the site so that they can maintain their business. These buy-ins and the commissions vary by contest.

Baseball and football are the most popular sports contests available, but DraftKings offers a wide selection of sports you can get involved in. Basketball, hockey, golf, soccer, mixed martial arts, and NASCAR are also available. I'll go into more detail on the different sports later.

Should you play at DraftKings?

In this review I try to offer a balanced view of what the site offers. I like the games there, and the site is user-friendly. For people who want to get some money into action on sports in the United States, this is a great option. After all, betting on sports is illegal unless you travel to Las Vegas. Since the skill element of drafting a fantasy team involves a lot of skill, it's not considered gambling.

The number and variety of contests is outstanding. DraftKings.com has something for almost every kind of sports fan you can imagine, and these contests are available in a wide enough variety of buy-ins that no matter how small or large your bankroll is, you'll almost certainly find something to tickle your fancy. If you've played season-long fantasy sports before, you'll have little trouble figuring out how to participate in the contests at DraftKings.

I've seen no indication that anyone would have any other reason to distrust this site or its management. All of the other reviews and forum comments I've read seemed as excited about the site as I am.

If you like sports, and you're interested in getting involved with putting some money on the line legally, DraftKings is one of the leaders in the industry. You should try it.

Please keep reading for more information about everything this site has to offer.

Bonus Details

There are three main bonuses available at DraftKings. Here's a little bit of information about each one.

  • One Free Entry to a Paid Game – This is awarded when you register a new account and make your first deposit.
  • 100% First-Time Deposit Bonus – You get a bonus equal to the amount of your initial deposit. This bonus is released into your account as you earn player points by entering contests. The maximum bonus is $600.
  • Refer-a-Friend Bonus – This isn't so much a bonus as it is a revenue-sharing deal. When you refer a friend to DraftKings, you receive up to 35% of the revenue generated by the player you referred.

I have two minor complaints about DraftKings, and the first one of these is related to the signup bonus. I'm disappointed that the site isn't more forthcoming about the maximum amount that can be claimed. To figure out that the max bonus was $600, I had to register an account and start the deposit process. That information should be available to potential customers without having to register an account at the site.

Banking Options

DraftKings is a United States company operating in US dollars. The site accepts the following major credit cards.

  • Visa LogoVisa
  • MasterCard LogoMasterCard
  • Discover LogoDiscover
  • American Express LogoAmerican Express

Discover doesn't offer prepaid gift cards, but the other credit card brands do. DraftKings also accepts deposits via these prepaid gift cards.

If you're using a prepaid gift card for your deposit, don't throw the card away.

DraftKings.com processes withdrawals as refunds to those cards, so you're going to need that card—assuming you eventually have winnings to withdraw.

You can also deposit and withdraw via PayPal.

Withdrawals take up to three days to process. Their policy is to issue your withdrawal first as a refund via your original deposit method. If you have additional funds (i.e. winnings), you're issued a payment via PayPal or via check. If the credit card you used to make your deposit is no longer valid, you need to contact their support department about your withdrawal before making your withdrawal request.

The company processes withdrawals during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 5pm EST. It takes up to three days to process your withdrawal. It then takes another two to seven business days to see the funds in your PayPal or credit card account. Checks take about a week to come in the mail.

Please Note

If you live in the United States, your winnings are taxable income. If you show a net win of more than $600 in a calendar year, the income will be reported to the IRS, and you will receive a 1099 from DraftKings.

Sports Available

Before I get on to the different sports available at DraftKings, I'm just going to explain a little about the concept of daily fantasy sports for those of you who may not be familiar with it. You can skip this bit if you already know what's involved.

Most people are familiar with the basic principle of fantasy sports. You draft a team of players, and you score points based on those players' performances during that day's or that week's games. The team manager (you or your opponent) wins based on how well her team's score compares to her opponents.

For decades, this kind of fantasy sports game has been played on a season-long basis. Daily and weekly contests—the kind that DraftKings offer—are relatively new. You're given a salary cap, and you draft from a list of players provided on the site. Your opponent(s) do the same. But once that day's or week's games are played, the contest is over and you get your winnings or suffer your losses.

You're then free to enter more contests, take the day off, or take the week off. Daily and weekly fantasy sports don't require a season long commitment.

One thing you can't do in these kinds of contests is recruit your team all from the same sports team. That would make it the equivalent of just betting on the outcome of the sports, which entails all kinds of other legal considerations. You must choose different players from different teams for your team.

Since that selection is skill and knowledge based, the United States government doesn't consider these kinds of contests gambling on sports. If you're one of the frustrated players from the US who used to love playing poker on the Internet, DraftKings is a great opportunity to get some similar action without having to worry about the legalities. DraftKings had lawyers go over their business model carefully to make sure that everything they offer is above-board.

That being said, these contests aren't available in every state, because state laws regarding the pertinence of skill in gambling vary.

The following sports are available at DraftKings.

  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Hockey
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • MMA
  • NASCAR

Let's take a look at how each sport works here.

Fantasy Football at DraftKings

Fantasy football contests are available at both the college and the professional (NFL) levels. Because of the way football is scheduled, these contests are held on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis. But a weekly commitment is far less of a commitment than a season long league.

Each player gets a salary cap of $50,000. You use these funds to draft a 9-player team. You choose from a player pool that includes all the NFL (or college football teams) eligible during that contest time period. You have to have players from at least two different teams and that represent at least two different football games.

Your team will consist of the following positions.

  • A Quarterback
  • Two Running Backs
  • Three Wide Receivers
  • A Tight End
  • A Flex Player
  • A Team Defense

For the flex player, you have the choice of another running back, wide receiver, or tight end.

Points are scored based on each player's performance. If you've played fantasy football before, you'll understand how this works.

Here are some examples of how your selected players can earn points.

Offense

  • A passing touchdown is worth 4 points.
  • 25 passing yards are worth 1 point.
  • Over 300 passing yards is worth 3 points.
  • Throwing an interception is -1 point.
  • 10 rushing yards are worth 1 point.
  • A rushing touchdown is worth 6 points.
  • Over 100 rushing yards is worth 3 points.
  • 10 receiving yards are worth 1 point.
  • Catching an interception is worth 1 point.
  • A touchdown from a reception is worth 6 points.
  • Each reception is worth 1 point.
  • More than 100 receiving yards is worth 3 points.
  • A punt or kickoff return for a touchdown is worth 6 points.
  • A fumble is -1 point.
  • A 2 point conversion is worth 2 points.
  • Recovering a fumble and making a touchdown is worth 6 points.
Defense

  • A sack is worth a point.
  • An interception is worth 2 points.
  • A fumble recovery is worth 2 points.
  • A touchdown from a kickoff return is worth 6 points.
  • Returning a punt for a touchdown is worth 6 points.
  • A touchdown from an interception return is worth 6 points.
  • A touchdown from a recovered fumble is worth 6 points.
  • A safety is worth 2 points.
  • A blocked kick is worth 2 points.
  • The number of points allowed affects the defense score, too.
    • Allowing 0 points scores 10 points.
    • Allowing 1-6 points scores 7 points.
    • Allowing 7-13 points scores 4 points.
    • Allowing 14-20 points scores 1 point.
    • Allowing 21-27 points scores no points.
    • Allowing 28-34 points scores -1 point.
    • Allowing 35+ points scores -4 points.

DraftKings.com keeps live scores posted during the games, so you can watch how your team is doing versus your opponent's team in real time.

Fantasy Baseball at DraftKings

Season long fantasy baseball is even more of a grind than fantasy football. After all, there's a big difference between having to set a lineup every day and only setting one up once a week. So baseball fans who can't handle the commitment of a season long fantasy baseball league should find DraftKings to be right up their alley.

DraftKings only runs contests based on MLB results. You get $50,000 for your salary cap, with which you draft 10 players.

  • Two Pitchers
  • One Catcher
  • A First Baseman/ Designated Hitter
  • A Second Baseman
  • A Third Baseman
  • A Short Stop
  • Three Outfielders

You must have hitters from at least three different teams. Here's how the scoring works.

Hitters

  • A single is worth 3 points.
  • A double is worth 5 points.
  • A triple is worth 8 points.
  • A home run is worth 10 points.
  • It's 2 points for every run batted in.
  • It's 2 points for every run.
  • Base on balls is worth 2 points.
  • Being hit by a pitch is worth 2 points.
  • Stolen bases are worth 5 points.
  • Getting caught stealing a base is -2 points.
Pitchers

  • 2.25 points for every innings pitched.
  • 2 points for each strike out.
  • Winning pitchers get 4 points.
  • 2 points are lost for every earned run allowed.
  • Every hit against a pitcher is -0.6 points.
  • Allowing base for balls is -0.6 points.
  • Hitting a batter is -0.6 points.
  • Completes an entire game is worth 2.5 points.
  • A shut out is worth 2.5 points.
  • A no hitter is worth 5 points.

Live scores are updated on the site in real time.

Fantasy Basketball at DraftKings

DraftKings offers fantasy basketball contests at both the college and the pro level. Most of their contests are based on NBA results.

You get a $50,000 salary cap, and you draft eight players. Players have to be on at least two different teams and be participating in at least two different games. Here are the eight positions:

  • Point Guard
  • Shooting Guard
  • Small Forward
  • Power Forward
  • Center
  • Guard
  • Forward
  • Utility

Scoring for basketball is a little simpler than it is in baseball or football.

  • Each point scored is worth 1 point.
  • Each made 3 point shot is worth 0.5 points.
  • A rebound is worth 1.2 points.
  • An assist is worth 1.5 points.
  • Steals and blocks are worth 2 points each.
  • A turnover over is -0.5 points.
  • A double-double is worth 1.5 points.
  • A triple-double is worth 3 points.

DraftKings.com keeps real-time reports of your team's and your opponents' teams' scores.

Fantasy Hockey at DraftKings

The fantasy hockey contests are based on the scores of the players in the NHL. You get a $50,000 salary cap that you can use to draft nine players from the following positions.

  • Three Wings
  • Two Centers
  • Two Defensemen
  • One Utility
  • One Goaltender

You can use any position besides goalie to fill the utility position. You're required to have players from at least three different teams.

The scoring works as follows.

Outfield Players

  • 3 points for each goal.
  • 2 points for each assist.
  • 0.5 points for any shot on goal or any blocked shot.
  • Short-handed point bonus is worth 1 point.
  • A shootout goal gets an additional 0.2 points.
  • Hat trick bonus is 1.5 points.
Goalies

  • 3 points for a win.
  • 0.2 points for a save.
  • 2 points for a shutout.
  • -1 point for every goal scored against.

You can follow the action on the DraftKings site with their real-time live scoring.

Fantasy Golf at DraftKings

Fantasy golf contests are scored according to the PGA golfers' performance. You get a $50,000 salary cap and a six golfer team. You draft from a pool of golfers that are participating in the week's tournament.

Golfers get points per hole and for how they finish the tournament. They also get points for streaks and bonuses. Here are the details.

Scoring Per Hole

  • A double eagle is worth 20 points.
  • An eagle is worth 8 points
  • A birdie is worth 3 points.
  • Par is worth 0.5 points.
  • A bogey is worth -0.5 points.
  • A double bogey is -1 point.
  • A triple bogey or worse is -2 points.
Streaks & Bonus Points

  • A streak of three or more birdies is worth 3 points.
  • A bogey free round is worth 3 points.
  • Scoring all four rounds in under 70 strokes is worth 5 points.
  • A hole in one is worth 10 points.
Points Per Finishing Position

  • 1st place: 30 points.
  • 2nd place: 20 points.
  • 3rd place: 18 points.
  • 4th place: 16 points.
  • 5th place: 14 points.
  • 6th place: 12 points.
  • 7th place: 10 points.
  • 8th place: 9 points
  • 9th place: 8 points.
  • 10th place: 7 points.
  • 11th -15th place: 6 points.
  • 16th – 20th place: 5 points.
  • 21st – 25th place: 4 points.
  • 26th – 30th place: 3 points.
  • 31st – 40th place: 2 points.
  • 41st – 50th place: 1 point.

Fantasy Soccer at DraftKings

The fantasy soccer contests are scored based on the performance of players in the EPL and the UCL. You get a $50,000 salary cap with which to recruit eight players. Your roster must include players from at least three different teams. The roster positions are as follows.

  • One Goalkeeper
  • Two Defenders
  • Two Midfielders
  • Two Forwards
  • One Flex

The flex position can be filled with any player besides a goalkeeper.

This is how the scoring works.

Outfield Players

  • Each goal scored is worth 10 points.
  • Each assist is worth 6 points.
  • Shot, shots on the goal, and crosses are worth 1 point.
  • Drawing a foul is worth 0.75 points.
  • A red card is -1 point.
Goalkeepers

  • Each save is worth 2 points.
  • Each goal allowed is -2 points.
  • A clean sheet is worth 5 points (defenders also get these points).
  • One goal allowed is worth 2 points.
  • A win is worth 5 points.
  • A penalty kick save is worth 3 points.

Real-time scoring is updated on the DraftKings website during the game.

Fantasy MMA at DraftKings

Fantasy mixed martial arts contestants get a $50,000 salary cap with which they can draft five fighters. Points are scored for moves made by each fighter and by the conclusion of each fight.

Moves

  • Significant strikes are worth 0.5 points each.
  • An advance is worth 1 point.
  • Takedowns and reversal/sweeps are worth 2 points each.
  • Each knockdown is worth 3 points.
Winning Round

  • Victory in 1st round – 100 points
  • Victory in 2nd round – 70 points
  • Victory in 3rd round – 50 points
  • Victory in 4th/5th round – 40 points
  • Victory by decision – 25 points

DraftKings.com offers real-time scoring for MMA contests, too.

Fantasy NASCAR at DraftKings

Fantasy NASCAR is similar to fantasy MMA. You get a $50,000 salary cap with which to recruit five drivers. Drivers score points based on their finishing position as follows.

  • 1st - 46 points
  • 2nd - 42 points
  • 3rd - 41 points
  • 4th - 40 points
  • 5th - 39 points
  • 6th - 38 points
  • 7th - 37 points
  • 8th - 36 points
  • 9th - 35 points
  • 10th - 34 points
  • 11th - 33 points
  • 12th - 32 points
  • 13th - 31 points
  • 14th - 30 points
  • 15th - 29 points
  • 16th - 28 points
  • 17th - 27 points
  • 18th - 26 points
  • 19th - 25 points
  • 20th - 24 points
  • 21st - 23 points
  • 22nd - 22 points
  • 23rd - 21 points
  • 24th - 20 points
  • 25th - 19 points
  • 26th - 18 points
  • 27th - 17 points
  • 28th - 16 points
  • 29th - 15 points
  • 30th - 14 points
  • 31st - 13 points
  • 32nd - 12 points
  • 33rd - 11 points
  • 34th - 10 points
  • 35th - 9 points
  • 36th - 8 points
  • 37th - 7 points
  • 38th - 6 points
  • 39th - 5 points
  • 40th : 4 points
  • 41st - 3 points
  • 42nd - 2 points
  • 43rd - 1 point

Real-time results are available for NASCAR contests on the DraftKings site during the races

Types of Contests at DraftKings

DraftKings makes multiple types of contests available to players. These include the following.

  • Guaranteed
  • Qualifiers
  • Head-to-Head
  • 50/50
  • Leagues
  • Multipliers
  • Steps
  • Beginner

From the lobby of the site, you can filter which choices you see according to sport, buy-in, and type of contest. You can create your own contests or you can buy into contests that other players have already created. DraftKings creates some of the contests themselves, too, especially the ones with guaranteed prize pools.

Let's look at how each of these contest types work.

Guaranteed Contests

A guaranteed contest offers a minimum prize pool regardless of how many or how few people register for the contest. This type of tournament is also popular at Internet poker sites. Smart gamblers love these kinds of contests because of the overlay potential.

Here's how an overlay situation works.

Suppose you have a contest with a $100 buy-in and a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool. If 1,000 people register for that tournament, the site has only taken in $100,000 in entry fees, but they're guaranteeing payouts as if 2000 people had registered for that tournament.

Mathematically, this provides a player with a greater potential return on her investment. Let me explain why.

Suppose the prize pool is set up so that the players with scores in the top half of the field each win an equal percentage of the prize pool. With 1,000 contestants, that means 500 of them will win 1/500 of $200,000, or $400. Assuming everyone is of equal skill level, you have a 50% chance of winning $400, even though you only put $100 on the line.

Most overlay situations aren't that extreme—in fact, they're usually a lot closer than this. I just used that example because it's obvious how the math works. Guaranteed tournaments are fun even if they don't offer an overlay opportunity.

Qualifiers

A qualifier is a contest with a low entry fee, but if you're one of the winners, you get an entry to a more expensive contest. For example, you might play in a qualifier that costs $5. If you're one of the winners, you might win entry to a contest that would normally cost $100 to enter. This model is something that the daily fantasy sports industry has also borrowed from the world of poker tournaments.

Head-to-Heads

A head-to-head contest is one in which you play against one other player, winner take all. This is my favorite type of contest. These are usually available in a variety of buy-ins, as low as $1 per player and as high as $530 per player. These contests are opportunities to double your money.

50/50 Contests

A 50/50 contest is one in which multiple players have fantasy teams. If your score falls within the top 50% of the field, you win money. Otherwise, you don't. These are, like the head-to-head contests, opportunities to double your money.

Leagues

These are contests where multiple players compete, but only the top tier (often the top 3 players, but it depends on how many entries there are) gets paid. The variance in these contests is higher, because you have a smaller chance of winning, but you win a larger jackpot when you do win. The strategy for league play differs significantly from 50/50 play.

Multipliers

These are multiplayer tournaments which offer you the opportunity to win 3X or 10X your entry fee. In these contests, the top scores all win the same prize. For example, the top 3 players might win $15 each instead of having a different prize amount for 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place.

Steps

Steps are contests which enable you to parlay a small buy-in at a low level into a big win without having to pay the big entry fee. These are similar to qualifiers, but you can buy into the step at any of the four levels you can afford.

Step 1 might cost $2 to enter, but you could enter at step 3 if you can afford the $25 entry fee. The top of the step is step 4, which you can also buy into directly.

Steps are similar to qualifiers. The fantasy sports folks also borrowed this model from the Internet poker industry.

Beginner Contests

Beginner contests are only available to players who've competed in 50 or fewer contests for a particular sport. Once you've competed in 50 contests for a particular sport, you're no longer eligible to play in the beginner tournaments.

These are sports-specific. For example, if you've played in 60 fantasy baseball contests but only 20 fantasy football contests, you're still eligible to play in the beginner fantasy football tournaments. You're no longer considered a beginner at fantasy baseball though.

Customer Support

Customer support is available Monday through Friday from 9am – 11pm EST. On Saturday and Sunday, customer service can be reached between 10am and 7pm EST.

You can contact customer support by filling out the contact form on their contact page, or you can send an email to support@draftkings.com.

Their mailing address is as follows.

DraftKings, Inc.

225 Franklin St.
26th Floor
Boston, MA 02110


They do not offer a phone number for customer service on their site. This is the second of my minor complaints, as I'm disappointed that they have no way to reach them over the phone. In the 21st century, I should be able to speak with a person over the phone if I need help with my account. It doesn't matter what kind of transaction I'm conducting or at what kind of business; that's just a basic customer service experience I should be able to take for granted.

DraftKings FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions about DraftKings.com, along with my answers.

Is this legal?

Yes, in general. Fantasy sports contests are considered skill games, and as such, they're not considered illegal in the same way that sports betting, poker, and casino gambling might be.

How old do I have to be to play?

You must be at least 18 years old to play at DraftKings, unless you live in Alabama or Nebraska. In those states, you must be 19 or older to play.


Is it hard to win?

That's a harder question to answer, as it depends on how much work you're willing to do. You'll find articles about strategies for the various contest types elsewhere on this site. If you're willing to put in the effort, these kinds of fantasy sports contests can be profitable. Some people make a living playing daily fantasy sports contests.

What is DraftKings' relationship with DraftStreet and/or StarStreet?

DraftKings acquired these companies. If you had an account at one of those sites, you're able to transfer most of your old account information from the defunct sites to DraftKings. You'll retain your bankroll from those sites as well as any bonuses you earned.

How does DraftKings compare to FanDuel?

FanDuel is the main competitor to DraftKings. Both sites offer much of the same kind of action, but the interfaces are different. You should try both sites to see which you prefer. The scoring for the contests at FanDuel and some of the drafting rules are different. Both are excellent places to play.

Summary & Verdict

DraftKings is one of the leaders in the daily and weekly fantasy sports market. They offer contests in a wide enough variety of sports that it's hard to imagine someone being unable to find some contest they're interested in.

They have a top-notch, professional site with a smooth user interface and plenty of interesting contests for players. They also offer a generous signup bonus for new players and lots of guaranteed prize pool contests. You can find contests at all buy-in levels, too, so even if you don't have a lot of money, you can get in on the action here.

The only two complaints I could make about the site are minor indeed. One is that they have no telephone support. The other is that the signup bonus amount isn't clearly listed on their site. Those aren't a big deal at all.

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