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
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.
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
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.
DraftKings is a United States company operating in US
dollars. The site accepts the following major credit cards.
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
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.
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
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
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
The following sports are available at DraftKings.
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
Your team will consist of the following positions.
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
Here are some examples of how your selected players can earn
touchdown is worth 4 points.
yards are worth 1 point.
passing yards is worth 3 points.
interception is -1 point.
yards are worth 1 point.
touchdown is worth 6 points.
rushing yards is worth 3 points.
receiving yards are worth 1 point.
interception is worth 1 point.
from a reception is worth 6 points.
reception is worth 1 point.
100 receiving yards is worth 3 points.
A punt or
kickoff return for a touchdown is worth 6 points.
A fumble is
A 2 point
conversion is worth 2 points.
a fumble and making a touchdown is worth 6 points.
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
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,
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.
A First Baseman/ Designated Hitter
A Second Baseman
A Third Baseman
A Short Stop
You must have hitters from at least three different teams.
Here’s how the scoring works.
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.
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
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
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.
You can use any position besides goalie to fill the utility
position. You’re required to have players from at least three
The scoring works as follows.
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.
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
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.
The flex position can be filled with any player besides a
This is how the scoring works.
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.
Each save is worth 2 points.
Each goal allowed is -2 points.
A clean sheet is worth 5 points (defenders also get
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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
Let’s look at how each of these contest types work.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 [email protected].
Their mailing address is as follows.
225 Franklin St.
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.
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
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
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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