The nature of daily fantasy sports

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) has become a hot ticket for sports buffs seeking fresh ways to engage with their favorite games. Despite its recent surge in popularity, it's not a new kid on the block - it's been around since 2007. This thrilling pastime gives players a chance to roll the dice, flex their skills, and potentially pocket some extra dough.

With sports authorities worldwide either hosting or green-lighting DFS games based on their leagues, it's no wonder folks are chomping at the bit to join the fun. We get it, and that's why we've cooked up this article just for you.

In this piece, we'll pull back the curtain on daily fantasy sports, breaking down how it's played and what it takes to come out on top. We'll cover the nuts and bolts, giving you the lowdown on everything you need to know to dive into this popular game. By the time you've finished this article, you'll be able to tell if DFS is your cup of tea. So, buckle up and let's get this show on the road.

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📖 Published on: May 29th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 7 months ago

⏳ 13 mins read

Daily fantasy sports: the meaning

You may ask, "what is DFS fantasy?" Well, it's not rocket science and is, in fact, easy to understand. However, there's a reason why it is one of the most popular types of online games played right now. And that's because it is fun and can help get some extra cash.

Daily fantasy sports is quite the game if you're talking about innovation. It is based on real-life happenings in the world of sports. It is like a simulated version of sports leagues. More impressive is that you can play it over time and win differently. It is played in leagues such as the English Premier League, La Liga, the NBA, and the NFL. Daily fantasy sports is quite the game if you're talking about innovation. It is based on real-life happenings in the world of sports. It is like a simulated version of sports leagues. More impressive is that you can play it over time and win differently. It is played in leagues such as the English Premier League, La Liga, the NBA, and the NFL.

To play on fantasy sports sites, you need to invest time and effort into it. Since it is based on real-life events, you have to follow up on coaches, players, teams, injuries, and anything concerned with the sport you're playing fantasy sports on. You'd occasionally see fantasy sports players scratching their heads about who to choose, who to start, who not to choose, and whatnot. This is because playing DFS requires you to think from the position of a real-life coach, only virtually.

The main difference between daily fantasy games and full-season fantasy sports is the timeframe. Instead of waiting for the player statistics to accumulate points over a whole season, you'll wait one day or one week to know the results. This one takes less time than season-long games like fantasy football betting and can be played quickly. You can get paid quickly if you play daily fantasy games and win daily.

Unlike full-season fantasy sports, which is more of a social game, DFS betting involves real money paid to participate. Many more people participate in fantasy sports because of the larger payout. However, there is a larger payout because every participant is made to pay a certain fee to play. It's like a casino game. Where to play, you need to stake some money.

What types of sports are available in daily fantasy

There are lots of sports types offered in Daily Fantasy Sports. These games allow you to assemble teams, and you win or lose based on the performance and appearance of those players in real life. Traditional US and outdoor sports are organized for fantasy play, although native sports like Basketball are more popular in the country. The types of sports you can play daily fantasy sports in are:


Football (NFL)


Baseball (MLB)


Basketball (NBA)


College football


College basketball (NCAA)


Hockey (NHL)









What are the types of daily fantasy sports games

There are lots of sports types offered in Daily Fantasy Sports. These games allow you to assemble teams, and you win or lose based on the performance and appearance of those players in real life. Traditional US and outdoor sports are organized for fantasy play, although native sports like Basketball are more popular in the country. The types of sports you can play Daily Fantasy Sports in are:

Guaranteed prize pool (GPP)

Here, the players set an entry fee for anyone who wants to join the game. Nobody can participate in it without paying the fixed standard fee. The good thing about this type of fantasy sport is that the game will run seamlessly if the contestants are complete. What's more is that irrespective of turnout or participation, the winners' prizes are guaranteed.

Cash fantasy games

This type of fantasy sports game is smaller than the guaranteed prize pool. Here, the team with the most points wins the prize. Players can either join an already-created league or make their own.

Head to head fantasy games

It positions two players against each other in contest mode. Think of it like a tournament semi-final or final. First, it is a straight knockout for the loser, and then, whoever comes out on top takes home all the prizes with the most points.

Fifty/fifty games

The game here is based on hierarchy, and the winners and losers are divided into halves based on the competition. The first 50% that did better got all the prizes. The bottom 50%, however, get nothing from the game.


The winners of this type of fantasy sports get a multiple of their stake if they win. In other words, if you win a game, your entry fee is multiplied by the agreed multiplier, and you're paid out. Depending on the game, this multiple is mostly 5x or 3x the entry fee.

Showdown fantasy games

As the name goes, there is a single showdown to determine the winner. Just one game is played, and whoever wins carries the day.


It is like a tournament, only that it involves playing with fewer players.

Beat the score

Here, a score is set, probably by a previous win. The only way to win this type of DFS is to beat the previous score or the designated one.

Qualifiers and satellites fantasy games

In this type, winning aims to get prizes, but promotion to another game. It's like a ladder that helps you get closer to the prize.

How do you play DFS?

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is as easy as pie and doesn't call for any special skills. It's a game where you go head-to-head with other enthusiasts in a friendly competition. DFS can be a just-for-fun social game that doesn't cost a dime or offer any payout, or it can be a high-stakes game that's a stone's throw away from gambling, where you pony up some cash to enter and stand to win a payout if you come out on top. It's caught on like wildfire across the globe, and it's high time you learned how to play.

First off, you've got to sign up with a site that hosts DFS games. That's your ticket to the game.

Next, regardless of which DFS game you're playing, you've got to put together a virtual team. In most games, you're working with a pretend salary cap or budget that puts a leash on how you assemble your team. Once your team is set, your success hinges on the real-world performances of your chosen players.

When the dust settles after the match or game week, the points racked up by all your players are tallied. If your team's score is through the roof compared to your rivals, you'll be sitting pretty in the winner's circle.


Can you call daily fantasy sports gambling?

The classification of daily fantasy sports (DFS) as gambling is a subject of considerable debate. However, it's crucial to delve deeper into the inherent characteristics of DFS to understand why it's not typically categorized as gambling.

DFS is fundamentally a game of skill, not a game of chance or luck. Participants in DFS contests must employ a variety of skills to succeed. These include a deep understanding of the sport in question, the ability to analyze and interpret statistical data, and the strategic planning necessary to assemble a winning team within the constraints of a salary cap. This is a far cry from traditional gambling activities, which rely heavily on random outcomes.

Moreover, the legal definition of gambling often involves three elements: consideration (an entry fee), chance, and a prize. While DFS involves consideration and a prize, the element of chance is significantly reduced compared to traditional forms of gambling. This is because the outcome of a DFS contest is more influenced by the skill of the participants than by random chance.

In DFS, the participants have control over which players they choose for their team, and their success hinges on their ability to predict player performance based on their knowledge and analysis. This is in stark contrast to games of chance, where the outcome is largely or entirely dependent on luck.

Furthermore, the skill element in DFS is not a one-time factor but is consistent across multiple contests. Skilled DFS players consistently outperform less skilled players over time, further emphasizing the skill-based nature of DFS.

In conclusion, while DFS does involve an element of risk, as do many competitive endeavors, it is fundamentally a game of skill. The success of a participant is more dependent on their knowledge, analytical abilities, and strategic planning than on mere luck. Therefore, it's more accurate to view DFS as a skill-based competition rather than a game of chance or a form of gambling.


Is daily fantasy sports legitimate?

Another question you may have concerns the legality of daily fantasy sports in America. One of the biggest problems people face when playing the game is wondering if it is a crime. The answer to the question depends on your state in America.

Many states in the USA have expressly made it legal to play on fantasy sports sites in their territory, while others have outlawed it. On the other hand, some have left it gray, not explicitly denouncing it while not allowing it.

However, most states in the USA allow it. Therefore, the chances that you're in a state that permits playing on DFS sites are much higher than otherwise. Hence, you can rest assured and check our list below to see if your state allows you to play daily fantasy sports.

What states are dfs games legal and illegal in the US?

As we said in the last paragraph, here you'll know some states that allow playing on DFS sites and those against it. So, read along to know what your state thinks about it.

The frontier states that uphold playing fantasy sports in their landscape, among others, are:

 The states where DFS games are either prohibited or where major providers are not accessible include:

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Upcoming DFS laws

The casino and sports betting progression in the US has not abandoned fantasy sports as a form of gambling. That's why it had to take legislative actions to make it legitimate in the state. At the turn of the 2010s, casino legalization became a heavy topic. And, around 2015 and 2016, states started legitimizing and regulating DFS around America. The glaring thing is that different states have taken different approaches to control DFS in their territories.

For some states, fantasy sports is just a game. Hence, they put only fair laws to guide their activity in the state. But on the other hand, some states consider it a form of gambling and regulate it just like a casino or sports betting site will be regulated. Either way, it is only a matter of time before playing on the best DFS site is legalized in American states.


Is there a lot of money in DFS games?

The potential to earn money in daily fantasy sports (DFS) games varies greatly based on the type of games you participate in, the amount you're willing to invest, and your level of skill. Some players engage in large-scale tournaments, which often require substantial entry fees but offer the possibility of winning significant sums, sometimes reaching into the thousands or even millions of dollars. However, these tournaments are highly competitive and carry a high level of risk. To secure a portion of the prize pool, you must outperform hundreds or even thousands of other participants. On the other hand, you might choose to participate in cash games. These are smaller contests with more modest entry fees and more predictable payouts. While they're generally easier to win, the returns are also smaller. To consistently profit from these games, you'll need a sound strategy for managing your bankroll and a thorough understanding of the game. In essence, while there is the potential for substantial earnings in DFS games, achieving this is no simple task. Success in this highly competitive and unpredictable market requires a combination of strategic acumen, discipline, and a touch of good fortune.

Are DFS games and sports betting the same thing?

Considering the standpoint of many officials, sports betting is more of a skill-based game than luck. Most people also consider fantasy sports to be skill games. However, DFS is mostly considered different from sports betting in the US.

Are professional sports authorities in tune with DFS

Most sports league authorities in America consider fantasy sports betting a legitimate game mode. The National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) have some stakes in DFS platforms in the country. Therefore, they consider it major as regards American sports. Taking this outside the US, the English Premier League, for instance, have its fantasy football site where they conduct fantasy sports, although it is more of social gaming than gambling.

Can the government tax DFS winnings?

Put plainly, yes! Daily fantasy sites winnings are taxable in most states where it is allowed. Hence, you can expect to get taxed on your DFS winnings.

Travis Asherton
Editor | Sports Betting Expert

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