FanDuel was established in 2009 as a relatively unknown daily fantasy site. Funding rounds raising hundreds of millions of dollars and relentless advertising campaigns put FanDuel.com at the forefront of daily fantasy in the USA, where it remains today.
FanDuel is the original daily fantasy sports site. Headquartered in the United States and home to more fantasy contests than anyone else, FanDuel is always worth a look.
- Biggest fantasy site in the world
- Huge guaranteed prize pool events
- Some contests pay $1 million+ to the winner
- Constant influx of new, unskilled players
- Biggest contests are tough to win
- Does not offer season-long leagues
With more than $1 billion in prizes paid every year and six-million-plus registered users, FanDuel.com has firmly established itself as one of the two giants in daily fantasy sports (the other being arch-rival DraftKings).
Getting to the top of the industry was no easy task for FanDuel. During its early years, FanDuel faced numerous existential threats and narrowly avoided disaster more than once. Ballooning operating expenses, hostile state attorneys general and federal investigations from the DOJ and FBI all threatened to derail the FanDuel train at various points.
Establishing the daily fantasy industry was a trial by fire, but FanDuel survived and is now officially legal in most of the US. FanDuel has also struck deals with numerous pro sports teams and leagues to further entrench itself in sporting culture and establish itself as a legitimate enterprise.
In 2018, FanDuel was acquired by international gaming operator Paddy Power Betfair in a deal that valued FanDuel at $465 million. Under the terms of the deal, Betfair US acquired a 61% share of FanDuel with options to increase that stake to 80% after three years and 100% after five years.
For anyone completely new to daily fantasy, FanDuel contests operate much like traditional fantasy leagues but on a faster timescale. Just like in regular fantasy leagues, you get a salary cap, draft your team and watch as your picks accumulate stats in the real world. The winner is determined by whoever’s team accumulates the most points over the duration of the contest.
Fantasy contests can last for a day or a season at FanDuel.com. You can compete in large tournaments with million-dollar prize pools or play heads-up against a single opponent for as little as a dollar. The site offers something for all budgets.
FanDuel.com has introduced many different types of fantasy contests over the years, but the basic idea behind them all is to make smart picks and get paid when your lineup performs in the real world.
What makes FanDuel different than the fantasy leagues you may have played in the past is you’re not locked in for the whole season. FanDuel.com opts instead for week-long and day-long contests.
You draft your team and accumulate stats like normal, but the contest only covers every game for a single day or week of games. You get paid faster, you can test new strategies and injuries to key players do not ruin your entire season.
Visit at: www.fanduel.com
Is FanDuel.com Legal?
FanDuel only operates in states where daily fantasy sports contests are legal. Many states passed laws to formally authorize and regulate fantasy sports after FanDuel and DraftKings rose to prominence, giving both sites firm legal footing.
Even before that, online fantasy was exempted from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). Other forms of online gaming were affected by the law, but fantasy contests were specifically exempted from the law. FanDuel and its competitors are headquartered in the US, advertise on TV and even accept deposits via PayPal.
However, state laws do vary. Five states have laws on the books that appear to classify fantasy sports as a form of illegal gambling. As a result, FanDuel does not accept customers from the following states.
Restricted states: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana*, Montana, Nevada and Washington.
*Note: Most Louisiana parishes opted to legalize daily fantasy sites in a November 2018 ballot measure. Soon, people in most Louisiana pages will be able to play at FanDuel. It’s just a matter of time now as the state forms rules and regulations before FanDuel may begin accepting players.
A Note About FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel hosts fantasy contests for a wide range of sports in most states along with actual sports betting in a growing number of states, but our FanDuel review will focus exclusively on the fantasy side of the equation.
FanDuel first entered online sports betting in 2018 after receiving authorization from the Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey. Since then, FanDuel Sportsbook has expanded to Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other states with more on the way as legislation rolls out across the country.
If you would like to read more about its sports betting operations, you can see our FanDuel Sportsbook review here.
How FanDuel Works
A typical fantasy contest begins by logging in to your account, visiting the lobby and choosing any open contest. The lobby is organized to show all upcoming contests, how much they cost, what the prizes are and how many players are already registered. You may sort the lobby by sport league, contest type and buyin fee.
After you choose a contest, a new window opens with all the details. This is where you can confirm your entry and draft your team. Your virtual salary cap shows how much money you have to spend on your team. Each player has a cost and you cannot exceed your salary cap. The salary cap renders it impossible to choose a team full of all-stars, and that is what makes daily fantasy a highly strategic game.
Once you choose your team and confirm the buyin fee, the cost of joining is deducted from your account balance. Now you just wait for your players to play in games in the real world. Your fantasy team will earn points as your players accumulate stats in the real world.
In football, you would earn points for your quarterback achieving passing yards and throwing touchdowns. Your running back would earn points for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, your defense would earn points for turnovers and so on.
The player whose fantasy team accumulates the most points wins the contest and a real money payout.
Types of Contests
There are a variety of different contest types available at FanDuel.com. Sometimes FanDuel mixes and matches contest types and comes up with new hybrids so there’s always something new. The goal in each contest is to accumulate the most points.
Contests vary by duration, number of players and prize structure. Currently, FanDuel offers fantasy contests for football, baseball, basketball, college football, college basketball and hockey.
FanDuel hosts beginners-only contests that are restricted to players who have played in 50 or fewer contests. This means for your first 50 contests, you can sharpen your skills against other players of a largely similar skill level. Once you hit 50 contests or win more than $2,500, you will no longer be eligible to participate in beginners only contests.
A head-to-head contest is played against one other person in a winner-takes-all matchup. You and the other person put up your money and draft your teams. The person whose team accumulates the most points wins the whole prize pool. Buyins range from $1 to $5300.
Leagues are daily contests that involve 3, 5, 10, 20, 100 or 250 contestants. Multiple prizes are awarded to the top finishers in each contest. The number of payouts depends on the number of entrants. A 3-person league only pays the 1st place finisher while a 250-person league offers payouts of varying sizes to the top 27 finishers.
In a 50/50 contest, the top 50% of the finishers earn double their money back. For example, a 6-person contest would double the money of the top-3 finishers. These contests may involve anywhere from 6 to 100 contestants.
Triple-Ups and Quintuple-Ups
Triple-up and quintuple-ups are similar to 50/50s except in a triple up, the top 1/3rd of finishers get triple their money back and in a quintuple-up, the top 1/5th of finishers get five times their money back.
Daily fantasy tournaments have the most contestants and biggest prizes. These are typically more difficult to win but they offer much larger prizes. Buyins range from $1 to $1065 and sometimes even more. Prizes are paid to the top few finishers and vary based on the number of participants.
FanDuel also has guaranteed tournaments that promise a certain prize pool no matter how many people join the contest. For example, the weekly NFL Sunday Million has a prize pool of at least $3 million every single week with a first-place prize of at least $1 million.
Survivor tournaments work in rounds. In a basic survivor contest, the top 75% of finishers advance to round 2. Round 2 begins and then another 25% are cut before moving to round 3. This continues on until the final round in which prizes are awarded.
The strategy for Survivor Tournaments is unique because you don’t necessarily need to go for high risk, high payoff picks. More emphasis needs to be placed on safe picks who can earn enough points to keep you out of the bottom 25%. There’s no point in high risk plays during the early rounds because there is absolutely no benefit to coming in 1st place vs. 200th place as long as you’re above the cutoff.
Single Game Contests
FanDuel launched single-game contests in 2018 and as the name suggests, these tournaments involve just a single game on gameday. For instance, FanDuel held a single game contest for the last Super Bowl that involved The Big Game only.
Single game contests involve a roster of just five players and are based on standard scoring rules with one exception: one of your players is designated as the MVP and accumulates 1.5x points.
Near the end of 2018, FanDuel took single game contests one step further and launched half-slate contests that cover just half of one game. You still pick a roster of five players (with one of those being an MVP who scores 1.5x points), but the scoring only begins after the second half.
2nd Half and 4th Quarter NFL Contests
FanDuel introduced these ultra-short-term contests for the 2019 NFL season to give anyone with a bad lineup a second chance.
If your original lineup isn’t looking too hot, you can enter a single-game contest for the 2nd half or even just the 4th quarter. You’ll draft five athletes from a single game and compete based on their performances over the 2nd half or 4th quarter only.
The FanDuel welcome bonus changes on a regular basis, but there is always something on offer for new customers.
As an example, one recent welcome bonus gave all new customers who deposit $20 or more an extra $20 in site credit. The first $5 bonus was awarded immediately after depositing with the remaining $15 awarded in $5 increments on the same weekday of the original deposit over the next three weeks.
Other welcome bonuses in the past have offered new customers a 100% match added to their first deposit and free entry tickets to large contests. New bonuses are announced all the time, but you can head over to FanDuel.com for a look at the latest offers.
No bonus code necessary
Fanduel.com Championship Events
One of the greatest advantages to playing at a site as large as FanDuel.com is it has the numbers to support massive tournaments with huge prize pools. The weekly Sunday Million with its $100,000+ first place prize may be impressive, but it goes much, much further than that. FanDuel also holds a special championship event every year for each league.
World Fantasy Football Championship (WFFC)
The WFFC is the premier event every year for NFL fans. Last year’s World Fantasy Football Championship awarded more than $6 million in total prizes across the two main events, one held online and one held in-person in Puerto Rico.
80 players qualified for the live championship through satellite contests held online at FanDuel.com. Each qualifier was given a prize package consisting of flights and accommodations for two at a resort in Puerto Rico, access to the WFFC welcome reception, entry for two to a $50K single game championship, entry to the after party, $300 in resort credits and entry to the WFFC itself.
The WFFC paid $2.5 million in prizes, and nobody went home empty-handed. The first, second and third place finishers were paid $500,000, $250,000 and $150,000 respectively but nobody left without at least $10,000 no matter where they finished.
Meanwhile, the online championship guaranteed $3.5 million across 15,085 spots with a first-place prize of $1 million. Players were able to qualify for this one through satellite contests featuring buyins ranging from $1 to $25.
World Fantasy Baseball Championship (WFBC)
While NFL fans get the WFFC, MLB fans get the WFBC. The World Fantasy Baseball Championship works in a similar manner to the football championship but with a prize of $2,000,000 and half a million reserved for the first place winner.
In its latest iteration, 125 finalists qualified online through satellite contests at FanDuel.com. They were then flown to the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego and given three nights of hotel accommodations in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
There, each finalist was given two passes to the welcome reception at Moonshine Flats complete with a surprise country music performance, two entries to the $50,000 MLB single-game contest, two tickets to the Sunburn Pool Party at Hard Rock Hotel and entry to the WFBC itself.
The 125 finalists competed in-person for $2 million in total prizes. First place was good for $500,000 while second place received $250,000 and third place earned $100,000. Prizes were paid all the way down to all 125 finalists, with not a single player earning less than $5,000 just for showing up.
World Fantasy Basketball Championship (WFBBC)
Just like the other major FanDuel championships, the WFBBC holds qualifiers online and sends finalists to compete for a massive prize pool in-person every year. Last year’s World Fantasy Basketball Championship sent 75 finalists to the Terranea Resort in Southern California to compete in a $1.5 million live final.
Each of the 75 qualifiers were $1,000 cash for travel expenses, three nights of resort accommodations, entry for two to the $50K single day contest and entry to the WFBBC Main Event. The main event awarded $300,000 to the first place finisher, $150,000 to second place and $100,000 to third place. Everyone else won anywhere from $70,000 to $5,000 with nobody going home empty-handed.
Depositing and Withdrawing
FanDuel accepts deposits via credit card, debit card, online banking and PayPal. All deposits are processed instantly and FanDuel charges no fees. Withdrawals can be credited back to your PayPal account, checking account or via paper check in the mail.
FanDuel also accepts Bitcoin deposits via BitPay. In a September 2019 press release, BitPay stated it has been selected by FanDuel for customers wishing to make Bitcoin deposits.
Of these deposit methods, PayPal is perhaps the most convenient as it works just as well for deposits and withdrawals. PayPal itself accepts multiple funding methods, works quickly and is secure.
The minimum deposit is $10.
FanDuel.com has not maintained roughly 40% market share for years as one of the top-two fantasy sites in the country by accident. Massive prize pools, varied contest types and buyins for any budget make FanDuel is an easy pick for anyone new to daily fantasy.
The competition can get tough at higher buyin levels and in multi-entry guaranteed prize pool tournaments, but the beginners only contests and smaller tournaments give everyday sports fans a legitimate chance. Most importantly, FanDuel is licensed in multiple states and winners are always paid.