Fantasy sports have been around for decades, but real money fantasy sports betting is still a relatively new term in the online betting world. So if you have never done it and want to learn more about how online fantasy sports betting sites operate and place fantasy wagers, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we will teach you everything there is to know about fantasy sports betting and touch on key points:
- Where to find the best fantasy sports betting sites?
- How can you place a fantasy bet?
- What can you bet on fantasy sports gambling sites?
- What are tips & tricks for betting on fantasy sports?
List of the Best Fantasy Sports Bookmakers
Even though fantasy sports are not as popular as traditional sports betting, many real money betting companies offer their services, making it very easy to get into the wonderful world of fantasy betting. However, while it will be easy to find daily fantasy sportsbooks, you must be aware that not all will offer the same quality service.
Before betting on fantasy sports, you must pick a sportsbook with 2 things – a solid offer of various fantasy sports and leagues and competitive odds. With those 2 features, you will set yourself up for a successful fantasy sports betting journey while being able to rest assured that you’re betting on a solid sportsbook.
Alternatively, you can also use fantasy sports betting exchanges, but know that exchanges – unlike bookies – won’t have any bonuses, free bets and other promotions. So if you don’t care about bonus offers and other promotions, an exchange might be a better choice, but at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
Fantasy Sports Betting Bonuses
If you’re using fantasy sports betting exchange, you likely won’t have access to any bonus offers. However, if registered on any of the daily fantasy sports betting websites, you can be sure that promotions, free bets, and other bonuses will be available.
Which bonuses, how many, and what types will be available will vary depending on the sportsbook you’re using. It can also depend on where you’re from, so bettors from Canada might have different bonuses than bettors from the UK or US.
Nevertheless, the bonus offers are generally very similar, especially when discussing big brands such as FanDuel and DraftKings. The 2, like any other big fantasy sports betting site, will have free bets, special tournaments, reload bonuses, deposit rewards, and everyone’s favourite welcome bonuses.
You can also expect to find special promotions that will increase your payouts during big events, so always check the bookies’ promotions tab. And don’t forget to read through the terms and conditions to determine whether you’re eligible for the bonus.
How Does Fantasy Sports Betting Work
Fantasy sports betting differs from traditional sports betting since you’re not wagering directly on the outcome of a certain event or match but rather building your team of players to compete against opponents.
It’s a unique and attractive way to approach sports betting, and as of 2023, it’s very much in the mainstream, more available than it ever used to be.
The main thing you need to know about fantasy sports betting is that it’s not the same as traditional sports betting, where you place money on a player or team you believe will win the next match. But the best way to explain is with an example.
Assuming you are visiting fantasy football betting sites to play fantasy football. Instead of picking Team A to win the next game, you first have to decide which type of tournament you want to play in and then draft your team.
So essentially, you’re given an imaginary budget you can use to build a team while ensuring you’re below the salary cap. Of course, better players will always be more expensive, so you can’t create a roster of superstars.
Once you build a roster, your team will compete against other players in the same contest, with those who score more points – with their players performing better – winning the competition. All fantasy tournaments will payout the participants depending on their final placement, so you can expect to earn something as long as your team does well.
So essentially, your fantasy football bet is not a wager in the same sense as traditional betting. Instead, fantasy football bets are the fee you pay to participate in a tournament.
Most Popular Fantasy Sports Betting Markets & Tournaments
Fantasy betting has come a long way since it was first introduced and is nowadays more accessible than ever. Moreover, due to its popularity, many daily fantasy sports betting websites work hard to provide as much variety as possible to satisfy everyone.
It results in a situation where we have more fantasy sports betting markets and tournaments than we could ever wish for. And while there are many contests to choose from, all competitions fall into one of 3 categories.
Weekly tournaments are, as the name suggests, DFS competitions that happen weekly and last for just 7 days. Although weekly DFS contests often offer smaller prize pools, they’re trendy because they don’t take long to complete.
The most popular weekly DFS tournaments are League of Legends Esports contests because most LoL leagues happen during the weekend.
Season tournaments, unlike weekly DFS tournaments, last for an entire season. The actual length depends on the sport you’re betting on, so if you’re involved in a daily fantasy sports league for the Premier League, the contest will start and end at the same time as the Premier League.
Season tournaments are highly popular among seasoned DFS bettors, who chase high payouts. Since season contests last much longer and are tougher to win, they also offer significantly bigger prize pools, which can easily reach millions.
A player tournament in daily fantasy sports is a tournament between 2 players, essentially a head-to-head contest. The player tournaments can last for as long or as short as the participants make them up to be and are most commonly used between friends rather than daily fantasy bettors seeking high payouts.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)
Daily fantasy sports can include many contests and tournaments, and you can bet on various fantasy sports. Nowadays, there is more than enough variety in DFS to satisfy anyone, and no sport is covered by daily fantasy sports betting sites.
However, a handful of sports are the most popular among DFS enthusiasts and, therefore, the most accessible for anyone looking to bet on daily fantasy sports.
Fantasy soccer might not be as popular in the US as other sports, but it’s still one of the biggest online fantasy sports betting sites. Besides the group of soccer fans from the US who follow the sport, soccer fantasy gambling is huge in the UK and across Europe.
Fantasy American Football
Fantasy American football is the most popular fantasy sport globally, mainly because the US has historically dominated the DFS market. Even though it’s not as popular outside the US. American football has a sizable following of fans in Europe and other parts of the world. So if you want to bet on this sport, you can rest assured that many fantasy football betting sites will allow you to do so – no matter where you live.
Fantasy basketball is not as big as American football, but it’s not too far behind. Most online fantasy sports betting sites will offer various tournaments and basketball contests, including anything from the NBA to Euroleague and anything in between.
Baseball has been a mainstay in the fantasy sports betting world since DFS began, and it’s going nowhere. Admittedly, it’s not as big in Europe. Still, since most US DFS companies also operate outside of the United States, you can be sure that you won’t struggle to find fantasy baseball contests on any big fantasy sports betting site.
Fantasy hockey is huge in Canada, which should not surprise anyone, but it also has a nice following across the US, Europe, and the UK. It might not be the biggest name in the daily fantasy world, but it’s far from a niche sport.
Golf might be one of the most exciting fantasy sports to bet on, and it’s easy to see why it’s a big hit in the fantasy sports betting community. Most golf contests feature massive prize pools, which can often reach five digits, especially if you’re brave enough to bet on season tournaments.
Is Fantasy Sports Betting Legal?
Fantasy sports betting might be a bit of an enigma to traditional sports bettors who don’t know much about it. The main question among people unfamiliar with fantasy sports betting is whether it is legal, and we’re here to tell you that fantasy sports are completely legal! But that comes with an asterisk.
Since fantasy sports is very similar to sports wagering, it’s just as legal as sports betting, meaning that while it’s allowed across most of the world, some countries and states prohibit it. The local laws will differ from country to country, but the general rule of thumb is that if sports betting is legal in the state, there is an excellent chance fantasy sports betting is also permitted.
States Where Fantasy Sports Are Allowed and Not Allowed
As of 2023, most US states allow fantasy sports betting; however, some exceptions exist. Note that while fantasy sports bookmakers can’t operate in these states, the US is pushing towards making daily fantasy sports available across all states.
Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, and Nevada have no licensed fantasy sports operators in the state. In Washington, fantasy sports betting is generally considered illegal, as is in Montana, where fantasy sports contests are allowed but only if the state lottery runs them.
Nevada has deemed daily fantasy sports gambling, meaning that all operators need to own a license, whereas Hawaii’s attorney general deemed fantasy sports illegal wagering.
Elsewhere, fantasy sports are legal and readily available, except for 4 states, where DFS is yet to be entirely accepted. These include Virginia, which has only a few fantasy bookmakers for real cash and Louisiana, which is still working on legalizing fantasy sports but has deemed it legal.
States which explicitly made fantasy sports legal include Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Pending DFS Legislation
Slowly but surely, DFS will become available across the whole US. However, as of 2023, there are still a handful of states that have yet to start moving towards legalizing it, those who are considering it, and those where the DFS legislation is pending.
Most notably, Massachusetts, Maine, Georgia, and California have pending DFS legislation and are expected to legalize it shortly.
Other states, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Vermont, Kansas, and Alabama, are considering legalizing DFS but have not made any meaningful movements.
History of Fantasy Sports
Daily Fantasy sports enjoyed rapid growth in 2013, but the industry’s beginnings can be traced back to the 2000s. The first concept of daily fantasy sports was discussed in the early 2000s, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the first fantasy bookmakers appeared.
Since then, more and more daily fantasy sportsbooks have started appearing, making DFS more easily accessible and, consequently, more popular. Yet out of all daily fantasy sportsbooks, FanDuel and DraftKings remain two of the best fantasy betting sites.
The 2 quickly realised the industry’s potential and secured crucial business relations with the US’s top leagues in MLB, NBA, NHL, UFC, and Comcast. As a result, FanDuel and DraftKings are nowadays synonymous with DFS and are widely known as the top fantasy betting apps.
Most essential dates in the history of daily fantasy sports:
- October 2006 – The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) legalises DFS
- June 2007 – DFS launches on Fantasy Sports Live – the first significant fantasy sports betting app.
- November 2008 – NBC launches SnapDraft.
- January 2009 – FanDuel was founded.
- July 2010 – RotoGrinders.com joins the DFS industry.
- August 2012 – DraftStreet is launched.
- December 2010 – FanDuel hosts FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship (FFFC) – the first-ever live final event in DFS.
- January 2012 – DraftKings launches and quickly becomes a significant fantasy football betting app.
- April 2013 – MGT acquires FanThrowDown and becomes the first publicly-traded company to own a DFS site.
- December 2013 – Travis “TSpiedo” Spieth becomes the first DFS millionaire after winning the 2013 FanDuel FFFC.
- March 2014 – DraftKings becomes the official partner of MLB.
- July 2014 – DraftKings acquires DraftStreet
- August/September 2014 – FanDuel secured over $70 million in Series C and D rounds.
- November 2014 – DraftKings becomes the official partner of the NHL.
- November 2014 – FanDuel becomes an official partner of the NBA.
How to Bet Real Money on Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports can be an exciting pastime, but you can also make some serious cash. Like you can profit and make a living from sports betting, you can achieve the same success by betting on fantasy sports.
But if you want to succeed at betting on fantasy sports, you need to take the proper steps, and it all starts with creating accounts with the best fantasy betting sites.
- Before placing your first fantasy bet, you must register on a good fantasy sports betting site with quality odds and a solid offer of fantasy competitions and sports.
- Preferably, you should register with many fantasy sports gambling sites to access as many competitions as possible.
- Searching for fantasy sports gambling sites with solid bonus offers and promotions is advisable. Still, it’s not mandatory – to prioritize the site’s request for the contest and the quality of the service.
- Once you’ve found a couple of fantasy sports betting sites you like, it’s time to decide on which sports you will bet. You can play many contests in different sports, but you should never wager on a sport you don’t know anything about.
- Get as much information on teams and players before you place your bets – in sports gambling and fantasy sports betting, information is king.
- Although you should always research the games, you should be on the lookout for sites that can offer you betting tips, statistics, or a guide on how to bet. The more information you can get, the better.
- Consider using a fantasy football betting app if you’re betting on football or any fantasy sports betting app. Even if you’re not betting on your phone, apps can be very convenient, especially if you want to check how your team is doing while on the go.
- Lastly, remember that fantasy sports betting is the same as any form of wagering, and you should view it as such. Therefore, you should never bet with more than you can afford and be mindful of the dangers of betting addiction.
Fantasy Sports Betting Apps
You can freely bet on fantasy sports via your computer or by accessing the fantasy sports betting sites via the mobile browser, but most DFS players prefer to use fantasy sports betting apps. That isn’t too surprising, and there are many reasons for that.
Most big fantasy sports gambling sites will have a fantasy sports betting app because of the massive demand for betting on mobile devices. Almost everyone has a smartphone, and an app allows you to bet on fantasy sports anytime and anywhere.
But beyond the accessibility and the convenience the sports betting apps bring, it’s also important to note that most apps also offer special bonuses. So if you have a fantasy football betting app, there is a good chance that you will find special bonus offers on football contests, and you might even be eligible for exclusive tournaments.
Admittedly, not everyone wants to bet on fantasy sports from their phones, and that’s completely fine. But if you are always on the go, it is beneficial if you have access to fantasy sports betting app.
Fantasy Sports Betting Strategies
Fantasy sports is a type of gambling, but it’s much closer to sports betting than casino games. As a result, it’s entirely possible to profit from fantasy sports betting, and many professionals make a living from it.
You must be aware that not everyone can expect to make money from fantasy sports betting; however, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of profiting from it. Here we will look at four important strategies to help you come out ahead and make your journey on fantasy sports gambling sites profitable.
- Familiarize yourself with the sport you’re betting on
It’s a piece of obvious advice, but an important one. You wouldn’t bet on any sport if you don’t know a thing about it, so it doesn’t make sense to place fantasy football bets if you don’t follow football. The same holds for fantasy betting, from Esports, horse betting, tennis, and anything in between.
You need to have a good knowledge of the players and teams and follow the sports closely to bet on daily fantasy sports; otherwise, you can’t expect to achieve any meaningful payouts.
- Follow players’ performance
Fantasy sports betting is not about which teams are doing well but primarily focuses on individual players. Therefore, you have to follow players and understand their strengths and weaknesses, and keep track of their form, as only this way you will be able to build a strong team.
- Match-Ups are important
You need to follow the players and analyze their statistics, but it’s also important to understand player match-ups. For example, if you’re picking a basketball player for your team, you have to ask yourself, will he manage to score well in the next game, or will he face a very defensive team?
An often-overlooked factor, but understanding the match-ups can take a long way.
- Approach fantasy sports betting as an investment
Fantasy sports can be enjoyable, but you have to understand that this is nothing more than betting, and with the wrong approach, the fun experience can quickly turn dark. Only risk what you can afford to lose and have a solid plan on how to approach fantasy sports betting – bankroll management is essential for long-term success.
Fantasy Sports Betting Vs Traditional Sports Betting
Fantasy sports betting and traditional betting share some similarities, namely that smart players can profit from both. So whether you’re good at rugby league betting or are an expert in fantasy rugby betting, the results will always be the same – nice payouts and some extra cash on the side.
But even though sports betting and daily fantasy sports betting are similar, there are also a few key differences anyone who uses fantasy sports gambling sites and bets on fantasy sports should know.
In fantasy sports betting, there is no bookmaker you need to beat. That is because you’re not playing against the house but rather against other players, so technically, you get payouts based on your ability without any added fees.
Still, all fantasy sports betting sites will take a commission, which is usually around 10%, approximately the same percentage bookies take from sports wagers. So if you bet on football odds, the prices would already include a commission, whereas online daily fantasy sports betting sites take a 10% commission on entry fees.
A big advantage of fantasy sports betting over traditional gambling is the high potential payouts. Most competitions have very low buy-ins but high potential payouts, with some prize pools reaching astronomical amounts.
Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the betting odds changing with daily fantasy sports since the betting odds are not nearly as important as they are in sports wagering. They serve as a guide rather than a figure that will dictate your profits.
On the other side, there are also some cons to daily fantasy sports betting.
DFS is a very competitive landscape where only the best survive. So even though the rewards are great, you have to be very good at DFS to count on making a profit.
Winning big tournaments requires some luck. It might sound easy to achieve a big score, and if you’re good at daily fantasy sports, you can do it; however, it will take all of the stars to align to outperform everyone who entered the contest.
Fantasy Sports Overview
Before we end our daily fantasy sports betting article, here are a few interesting facts about daily fantasy betting you might not know about.
- The biggest and most popular daily fantasy tournaments include the DraftKings Tournament of Champions, FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship (FFFC), AFL Daily Fantasy Live Final, and DraftKings UFC DFC contests.
- Daily fantasy sports are prevalent in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Spain.
- If you want to engage in fantasy sports betting, you can bet on any sport you wish. Still, American football, golf, UFC, basketball, baseball, and soccer are the most popular.
- The most popular online fantasy sports betting sites are DraftKings, FanDuel, PrizePicks, and Underdog Fantasy.
- North America makes up 86% of the whole DFS market.
- 19% of Canada’s population plays fantasy sports regularly.
- Out of North American DFS players, nearly 35% belong to Gen Z.
- An astounding 21% of the US population plays fantasy sports.
- 34% of all DFS players are female.
That concludes our in-depth fantasy sports article, which you can use as a guide on how to bet on fantasy sports, where to find the best fantasy sports gambling sites, and how to profit from it. Equipped with all that knowledge, you’re now ready to register on any big fantasy sportsbook and start enjoying the wonderful world of fantasy sports betting!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is fantasy sports betting?
Fantasy sports betting is similar to traditional sports betting but with a different concept. Instead of wagering on the direct outcome of a sporting event, fantasy sports betting allows you to bet on how successful a specific player will be in his next match. Moreover, unlike sports betting, where you compete against the bookmaker, in fantasy sports betting, you compete against other players who entered the same contest.
Can you bet real money on fantasy sports?
Yes. Betting with real money on fantasy sports is available on all fantasy sports gambling sites. However, if you plan to wager with real cash, ensure you use only safe and regulated online fantasy sports betting sites.
Is fantasy sports gambling legal?
Fantasy sports gambling is legal across most countries and US states; however, some US states and certain countries have yet to legalize it fully. So make sure to check your local laws before you start your DFS betting journey.
Who owns fantasy sports betting companies?
No company owns all daily fantasy betting sites, but different companies are responsible for various DFS websites. For example, FanDuel is owned by Paddy Power, while DraftKings Inc owns DraftKings.