Make a Fortune with DraftKings, If You Dare

BreakingModern — I am a big fan of fantasy sports leagues. The camaraderie of friends participating in a friendly competition of wits and statistics makes watching sporting events, live or on television, just a little more interesting. And when you win, you get those all-important bragging rights.

At least that’s how it used to work, before outfits like DraftKings and FanDuel came along. They are the vanguard of a new breed of fantasy sports contest websites where the winner gets rewarded with a cash payout instead of just bragging rights. In this case, money is both the draw and the problem.

Fantasy Sports

My introduction to fantasy leagues was with major league baseball, back in the day of rotisserie leagues. The process was simple: You would form a league with your friends, go over to someone’s home for a party that typically included beer, pretzels and dip, and then draft a team before the start of baseball season. It was a good-natured friendly competition amongst some of your most-nerdy, sports-geek friends.

But when I signed up for DraftKings and gave them $25 to start an account, everything was much different. I found myself feeling nostalgic for some onion dip. There were no friends involved, there was no banter between contestants and there was no beer — there was only a cold hard business transaction.


Not that there is anything wrong with that. DraftKings and their ilk are up-front and clear about almost everything when it comes to how they operate. And, I can say without equivocation, that the DraftKings website is expertly crafted, intuitive and easy to use. This is not a shoddy operation — it’s a serious money-making business.


DraftKings takes great pains to say it is not a gambling site because, well, that would be illegal. So, keep in mind you are not betting on sporting events, instead you are participating in a contest of skill. Somehow, according to the law (at least the interpretation of the law, for now) that means the contests are not a game of chance, so they are not gambling. Now, I am no legal expert, but to me that sounds like semantics. In fact, by that definition, it sounds very similar to what I do when I handicap and bet on a horse race.

However, at this point, it doesn’t really matter since DraftKings is operating and thriving, and no one seems to be trying to stop them. However, if you decide to create an account with your hard-earned money, it’s something to keep in mind.

Nuts and Bolts

There is one major difference between DraftKings and the old-fashioned rotisserie leagues — contests run daily or weekly depending on the sport involved. That means, using football as an example, you can play contests covering the whole week or just the games at 1:00 on Sunday or just the two weekend night games, etc. In other words, there are always dozens of potential contests to join for not only football, but hockey, basketball, golf and soccer.


Each contest requires an entry fee to participate, ranging from zero to over $5,000. The higher the entry fee paid the higher the potential payout to the winners. Each contest also has different winning conditions. Some contests pay only the player with the highest score, while other contests will pay smaller amounts to the 50% of contestants with the highest scores.

Creating your lineup for a contest is as easy as clicking a button. You start with a total allotted salary and as you choose your players that salary total is reduced. Some players have an above-average salary and some below average, so the trick is to pick the best player combination while remaining under your budget. That is where the skill comes into play.


Best Advice

So here is the crux of the paid fantasy league for me. DraftKings is exactly what it says it is — a place where you can compete with other players for money in a fantasy sports contest of skill. But there are some caveats to consider before you ante up your dollars.

First, in its promotions, DraftKings promises to match your first deposit. But there is a catch, because you only earn access to those matching funds if you participate in contests. I deposited the minimum of $25 into my account. It took about all of that original $25 in paid and mostly lost contest entry fees over several weeks to earn my first dollar of matching funds. It’s going to take a lot of participation to finally earn all my remaining matching funds, and I don’t think I’ll ever get there.

Second, the promotions also suggest you will have the opportunity to win big bucks. However, in order to win those huge payouts you have to participate in the high-risk contests and pay very large entry fees. The idea that you can win big money and therefore win the admiration of bikini models is, well, pure fantasy. What the advertisements fail to mention when Joe says he won over $60,000 in two months is the fact that 9,999 other contestants lost their $200 entry fees to make it happen.

Third, while the DraftKings website includes features that allow players to communicate with each other, I failed to see any actual communication between contestants. The other players are there to crush you and win money. As an alternative, I suppose a group of friends could join at the same time and play the contests together.

In fact, that’s what I would recommend. Playing the contests with your fraternity or your co-workers would remove the clinical-business-transaction feel I got from solo participation.


Risk Versus Reward

Now, if you are a risk taker and you think you have what it takes to outwit thousands of other people in a fantasy sports contest, then DraftKings is the place you want to be. DraftKings is easy, legal and waiting with welcoming arms. However, I would suggest you bring some friends with you to make the experience a little more meaningful. Oh, and have them bring some beer, pretzels and onion dip.

For BMod, I’m

Image credit: MOTOI Kenkichi under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

All screenshots: Mark W. Kaelin

Header image: ElHeineken under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Mark Kaelin

Author: Mark Kaelin

Based in Louisville, KY., Mark W. Kaelin is a tech and gadget writer who also covers fine living for us here at BreakingModern.

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