DraftKings made its way onto the daily fantasy sports scene in 2012 and it’s quickly grown to be the biggest platform in the industry. With DraftKings, you can play in daily or weekly fantasy sports competitions rather than season-long competitions.
One of the nice things about DraftKings is that it supports both free games and cash tournaments. You can practice your skills in a free daily game, or compete with other players to win real money. Since DraftKings launched, the platform has paid out more than $5 billion to players.
On top of that, DraftKings recently launched a sportsbook service so you can bet on professional and college sports. The sportsbook covers a huge variety of events and includes helpful betting-specific stats to help you do your research before placing a wager. So, is DraftKings the best option if you want to play daily fantasy sports or place an online sports bet? Let’s dive deep into this platform to find out.
Features and Benefits of DraftKings
No DraftKings review would be worth reading without telling you what the best (and worst) things are about the platform, so let’s get to it.
Who can play?
DraftKings is available in 42 different U.S. states as of early-2020. Age restrictions differ depending on your state of residence, and if you’re located in any of the following states, you flat out won’t be able to play:
This list seems to change yearly (for example, Iowa was disqualified up until late-2019), so be sure to check your local guidelines before playing.
How to play
One of the things I really loved about DraftKings was how easy they make it to just sit down and start competing for prizes. Seriously, it took me about 40 seconds to make an account, and within minutes I was setting my first lineup.
You’ll want to figure out which league you want to dive into first. I’m partial to the NFL personally, but DraftKings has something for just about all of them, including:
- College Football
- College Basketball
- Arena League Football
- Canadian Football League
- EuroLeague Basketball
Once you decide where you want to start, you can make a free account through either the DraftKings website or their app. From there, it’s time to draft your star-studded lineup.
DraftKings offers a bunch of different tournament formats including:
- Featured – The premier tournaments on the site
- Beginner – New players compete against fellow new players
- Standard Tournament/League – Small & large fields
- Head to Head – One-on-one, winner take all
- 50/50 – The top half of the field wins cash
- Double Ups – A win doubles your entry fee
- Multipliers -Multiply entry fee up to 10x when you win
- Satellites/Qualifiers – Win your way into bigger tournaments
Most of the tournaments on DraftKings will require the player to work within a given salary cap, and this number is usually around $50,000. Each player has a listed salary, and your total lineup salary cannot exceed the cap number.
DraftKings also offers Tiers contests for players that don’t want to work within a set number. A Tiers contest assigns a specific level to each player, and your lineup must consist of a player from each tier.
Sign Up and minimum Deposit
Signing up for DraftKings is fast and easy. You can create a new account with your email address. Or, sign up through Facebook to make the process even smoother. Once you’ve created an account, you’re free to explore—there’s no requirement to make a deposit. You can even start playing free daily sports contests, many of which have cash prizes.
When you’re ready to add money to your account, the process is pretty simple. You can pay with a credit card, debit card, or PayPal, and the platform offers preset amounts to speed up the process. There is a $5 deposit minimum to keep in mind. But, at the time of writing, DraftKings will give you $20 for free the first time you make a deposit. DraftKings Sportsbook is an entirely separate service from DraftKings daily fantasy sports. You’ll need to create a separate account, and there’s quite a bit more personal information required—including your social security number. That’s because DraftKings has to report gambling winnings to tax agencies.
As of February 2020, DraftKings Sportsbook is matching 20% of your first deposit and 100% of your first bet, up to $500 each.
Depositing money securely into your new account
Upon registering for an account at DraftKings, you’ll be prompted to make a deposit. The minimum amount you can deposit is $5, and the maximum you can deposit is $2,000. You can transfer funds into your DraftKings account using PayPal or a credit/debit card.
You are not required to make a deposit immediately after registration. So feel free to take a stroll around the site and get acclimated to the interface before you make a deposit. After you make your first deposit, you’ll be able to enter any $3 contest for free. Now, you may be thinking: “What in the world can I possibly win by entering a $3 contest?!”
Some of the payouts for $3 contests can be quite large, and the pots are routinely guaranteed (regardless of the number of entrants).
After you deposit $5 or more, you’ll be credited with a ticket to enter a $3 contest for free. To enter a contest that accepts tickets, look for contests with the “T” icon.
Withdrawing funds from your DraftKings account is dead simple. Just tell them how much you want to withdraw.
DraftKings does have some rules governing how it processes payouts. For instance, they always try to transfer your winnings to the same account through which you made your initial deposit.
DraftKings Fantasy Sports
DraftKings started as a daily fantasy sports platform, and it excels in this regard. Once again, the selection of sports you can play is enormous. You’ll find daily and weekly fantasy competitions for nearly every major US sports league, golf and tennis tournaments, NASCAR races, and even eSports. All of these are organized into a lobby on the platform’s main page, which allows you to quickly see what major contests are going on across your favorite sports.
The range of competitions is just as diverse—DraftKings offers nine different contest types, which vary in entry fees and payouts. Many contests have guaranteed prize payouts, so you can know going in exactly how much you stand to win. In addition, there’s a contest type specifically for beginners, which you’re eligible for if you’ve played fewer than 50 games in a particular sport.
What’s more, the platform makes it pretty simple to find the competition you’re looking for. You can filter current games by sport, content type, entry fee, prize money, and field size. Once you’ve picked a game to enter, DraftKings will feel extremely familiar to anyone who’s played traditional season-long fantasy sports. The interface is terrific. Players are searchable, organized by position, and can be added to your team in a single click. The only thing we thought was missing was a comprehensive library of player stats to dig into.
The main DraftKings mobile app (DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports) is extremely easy to navigate and gives players just about all of the same access they’d have on the main site. This is something I find particularly useful, as I’m constantly on-the-go and the app keeps me from missing a beat. Players can use the main app to set and draft lineups, deposit funds, monitor real time scoring updates, and view and enter upcoming tournaments. You can download this application for iOS or Android devices in popular markets.
The DraftKings Live app is similar in features to the main app, as you’ll still be able to view and edit your lineups and follow along with the action. An added bonus with this app is that players will be able to view customized highlights and play-by-play based on their lineups.
DraftKings touts the live app as “a true digital fan zone experience, and the first ever play-by-play and news app built with the fantasy player in mind.”
The live highlights are definitely welcome. I’m someone that really enjoys being able to see the spectacular plays my players are making to help me win, and the up-to-the-minute news feed allows me to make informed lineup decisions.
Anytime you’re dealing with a site that requires a good amount of personal, sensitive information, as well as a financial requirement, you need to make sure your information is secure and protected.
Fortunately, DraftKings does a great job with this, and I’ve always felt comfortable giving them the required info.
All confidential information is safeguarded by SSL (Secure Socket Layer), as represented by the padlock visible on your browser’s address tab. It’s important to look for the icon in your browser before completing any information fields, just to be sure. DraftKings doesn’t offer phone support for either daily fantasy or sportsbook, but there’s a live chat that’s almost as good. When we tested it, we initially got a chatbot, but I was able to connect with a real human within a few minutes. According to DraftKings, live agents are available most of the time, including on weekends when the most games and bets are taking place.
Playing daily fantasy sports through DraftKings is legal in Washington, D.C. and every state except Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington. You can also join DraftKings if you’re in Canada, the UK, Germany, Ireland, Austria, or Malta.
DraftKings Sportsbook is much more limited because of state laws. As of 2020, you must be located in New Jersey, West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, or New Hampshire at the time you place a bet. The platform also requires you to verify your location before allowing your to wager.
DraftKings is a leader in daily fantasy sports for a reason. The platform supports fantasy games around an enormous variety of sports. Better yet, the interface is extremely user-friendly, even if you’re putting together a team on the mobile app.
DraftKings Sportsbook is limited in its geographic coverage, but the abundance of betting-specific stats is a huge advantage for the platform. However, the margins on standard bets are quite high, so it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for the most frugal betting option.