FanDuel.com is a US-legal fantasy sports site that hosts real money leagues for all major professional leagues and college football. It works in a manner similar to traditional fantasy leagues except the contests at FanDuel only last for one day or one week. As TechCrunch once put it, FanDuel is the “one night stand” of fantasy sports.
First contest refund - up to $120
FanDuel is the biggest and best daily fantasy site of them all. Large payout contests, million dollar prizes and a nice deposit bonus await all new customers.
- Biggest prize pools in the industry
- Live championship finals hosted in exotic locations
- Thousands of contests hosted every day
- Established, reputable fantasy site
- Difficult to cash in the biggest events due to # of entrants
- Does not offer fantasy MMA
Thanks to a strong marketing team, a high quality product and fortunate timing, FanDuel.com is the face of daily fantasy sports today. Run a search on Google for anything related to fantasy sports and you’re likely to see more than one reference to FanDuel. Tune in to ESPN long enough and you’ll be sure to see at least one ad for the company.
If you saw an ad or heard someone mention the name and you came here looking for more, you’re at the right place. I’m writing this FanDuel review to explain everything you need to know about the largest fantasy site in the industry. Read on for a brief history of the company, its legal status and what it’s like to play in real money fantasy leagues at FanDuel.com.
- New Player Bonus: First contest fee refunded if no prize won – up to $120
- Promo Code: N/A
- Established: 2009
- Headquarters: NYC
- Sports Leagues Covered: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, CBB and CFB
- Contest buyins: $1 to $5,300
- Deposit Options: credit card, debit card and PayPal
A Brief History of FanDuel
FanDuel was established in 2009 by the founders of Hubdub.com, which was at the time a free-play news prediction website. Hubdub was the main business at the time with FanDuel being a sort of exploratory venture into daily fantasy leagues. The FanDuel concept quickly showed promise while Hubdub.com languished.
The founders shut down Hubdub.com in 2010 and focused their efforts on FanDuel. Since then, FanDuel.com has experienced significant growth year after year. FanDuel contests paid out a total of $10 million in prizes in 2011, $50 million in 2012, $150 million in 2013 and roughly $400 million in 2014. These numbers are impressive as it is, but the amazing thing is the market hasn’t even come close to reaching its potential.
FanDuel’s parent company was originally based out of Edinburgh, Scotland but they have since opened an office in New York City that now serves as the company headquarters. Today, FanDuel employs 106 people in New York and Scotland.
New Player Bonus
All new customers who sign up for an account and deposit at least $10 will have their first contest entry fee refunded if they don’t win a prize in that contest. The larger your deposit, the bigger the potential refund you can claim with FanDuel.
Here’s how it works:
- Deposit $10 or more: Up to $2 first entry credit
- Deposit $25 or more: Up to $10 first entry credit
- Deposit $100 or more: Up to $50 first entry credit
- Deposit $200 or more: Up to $120 first entry credit
Is it legal?
Yes. Fantasy sports betting should not be mistaken for traditional fixed-odds sports betting. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) was passed in an effort to clamp down on internet gambling. However, the legislation included a specific exemption for real money fantasy leagues.
In a few states, state laws appear to prohibit fantasy sports betting. FanDuel.com does not accept customers from the following states:
How it Works
A typical contest at FanDuel covers one day or one weekend of games in a league. Everyone participating in a league is given a virtual salary that they can use to draft a team of players from around the league. Each player comes with a cost that is deducted from your total available salary. Star players cost more while lesser-known players cost less.
Once you’ve chosen your players and confirmed your picks, it’s time to sit back and watch the games. As your players accumulate stats on the field, your fantasy equivalents earn points. The contest concludes at the end of the last game of the day. The contestants whose teams have the most points win the league and are paid immediately.
Step One: Choose a Contest
Choose a contest. Log in to your account and visit the FanDuel lobby. The lobby shows a list of all open contests in all available leagues by default. There are a number of sorting features that you can use to narrow down the list to a more manageable number.
Step Two: Draft Your Team
The second step is to draft your team. You and all your opponents in the league begin with a salary of $55,000 or $60,000 depending on the tournament format. The draft page shows you a list of positions, available players, player prices and recent news for each player.
Drafting your team is where the strategy kicks in. This is both the most-fun and most-difficult part of playing fantasy sports online. You have the whole league of players to choose from, but you have to choose very carefully to balance your team and remain within your salary cap.
Step Three: Watch Sports
Step three is where the high drama takes place. You can log in to your account any time during the day or week of your contest to see how you match up against everyone else. You’ll see your position in the rankings, your current score and a breakdown of how many points each of your drafts has earned for you so far.
FanDuel tracks and updates stats in real time so feel free to close the laptop and enjoy the games. Or if you’re like me, you might opt to keep the computer on and watch your team accumulate points. In either case, FanDuel takes care of everything on the backend. All you have to do is watch and hope your players perform well.
Final rankings are calculated at the end of the last game during the contest period. If you placed high enough to earn a payout, you will be paid right away. From there, you can withdraw your cash or enter more contests.
FanDuel.com hosts a variety of contest types that are open to all comers.
Head-to-head: These are small contests hosted between you and exactly one other person. You each draft a team and compete for the whole pot. Each contestant pays an entry fee and the winner takes all minus a 10% commission. Head-to-head contests put you through less variance over the long run at the cost of smaller prizes.
Tournaments: These are the contests with the largest prize pools of all. Tournaments are hosted among hundreds or thousands of participants. Prizes are awarded in a structure that former poker players will recognize. The person whose team scores the most overall points wins the biggest prize of all. Smaller prizes are awarded to other people who finish near the top.
Tournaments are where the big money in daily fantasy betting is found. FanDuel.com is especially known for hosting massive tournaments with prizes that routinely top six or even seven figures. Most tournaments pay out cash prizes while others award seats to live events hosted in Las Vegas or other destinations.
Each year, FanDuel hosts a signature tournament for each league. Last year’s FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship (FFFC) had a $10,000,000 prize pool that awarded $2,000,000 to the first place winner. The top 100 players in tournaments leading up to the FFFC were flown out to Las Vegas to compete in the Main Event hosed at the Cosmopolitan.
50/50s: These contests look a lot like normal tournaments on the outside. They have lots of contestants and big prize pools just like regular tournaments. The difference is that in a 50/50, half the people win double their money. You only need to beat half the field to earn a payout.
Multipliers: FanDuel also hosts triple-ups and quintuple-ups that pay 3x the buyin to the top third of the field and 5x the buyin to the top 20% respectively. These are organized just like 50/50 tournaments but with prizes of 3x to 5x rather than 2x.
Leagues: These are basically just smaller tournaments that get their own category in the FanDuel lobby. Each league accepts anywhere from 3 to 250 entrants. One of the primary differences between leagues and other tournaments is that leagues always accept only one entry per person. Most tournaments, on the other hand, allow you to buy in multiple times with different teams.
Pocket Change Contests: FanDuel began hosting micro-stakes tournaments in 2017 with the introduction of Pocket Change contests. These are normal contests except with ultra-low buyins that you can enter whether you’re low on funds or are simply looking for something to do with the extra change you might have sitting in your account.
Pocket Change contest buyins start as low as $0.01 for a chance to win your way into bigger tournaments or as low as $0.25 to play for cash.
Friends Mode: FanDuel introduced Friends Mode in 2016 as its first, tentative step into season-long contests. Friends Mode contests allow you to set up a private league, invite your friends and then host weekly contests between you and your friends all season long.
Friends Mode is still more of a daily fantasy type of product, however, because you do not draft a team that you have to keep all year long. Each week begins fresh with each member of the league drafting a new team for that week’s contest. Entry fees are paid each week and prizes are paid out each week after that week’s slate of games. It’s basically a series a daily fantasy contests that are private between you and your friends.
FanDuel also maintains a season-long leaderboard for your league that ranks each member according to that person’s results to date. The leaderboard is fun to follow, but exists for bragging right only. There are no special payouts at the end of the season. Each member of the league simply attempts to win money each week.
Championship Leagues: FanDuel took another step in the direction of season-long fantasy with the introduction of Championship Leagues in 2017. Championship Leagues are a subset of Friends Mode and follow the same basic rules with one exception: each league member pays an up-front fee for that season.
Entry fees collected at the start of the season are pooled together to form a prize pot that is later divvied out at the end of the season to the top league members on the leaderboard. In the meantime, the league also hosts weekly contests with their own prizes.
When you start a Championship League on FanDuel, you get to set the parameters such as the league’s buyin, each weekly contest’s buyin and the number of players accepted into each contest. Then, you can invite your friends to join the league and play with one another throughout the season. Each week you have a chance to win real money during that week’s contests while also working your way up the leaderboard to win the big prize at the end of the season.
As an added bonus, you can earn credit as you invite your friends to join your leagues. Each time you invite a friend to join FanDuel and he or she signs up for an account, you get $10 in credit that you can use to enter contests on FanDuel. Your friend will also get a $10 credit just for being referred.
FanDuel is perhaps best known for its special events with massive prize pools. Million dollar tournaments are frequent on weekends, especially in NFL leagues. During the NFL season, FanDuel hosts at least one Sunday contest with at least $1,000,000 up for grabs and six or seven-figure prizes going out to the winners.
Recently, FanDuel Sunday Million contest prize pools have exceeded $4,000,000 with $1 million going to the first place finalist. These are some of the biggest contests in fantasy football and FanDuel always pays its winners. If you win a life-changing amount of money at FanDuel, you will be paid promptly.
Each professional league also has its own signature championship event with a multi-million dollar prize pool. Out of all the championship events, the NFL’s World Fantasy Football Championship (WFFC) is the largest. Last year’s WFFC had a $5 million prize pool and awarded $1 million to the grand champion at the main event hosted in California.
One of the big draws of championship events is the fact that the people who win a seat to the grand finale are flown for free to some destination such as the beaches of California to compete in a special venue. If you win a seat to the main event, you’ll be treated to VIP service, free room and board and a private viewing party where you make your draft and watch the games in luxury.
FanDuel’s major events grow larger every year so it’s hard telling what next year’s events will look like. Every professional league already has at least one major event with a multi-million dollar prize pool. And with FanDuel growing larger every year, it’s exciting to see what they come up with next.
How to Deposit
There are two deposit options at FanDuel: credit/debit card and PayPal. Both methods are easy to use and FanDuel charges no fees for doing so. For anyone familiar with online poker or offshore sports betting, the ease of depositing to and withdrawing from FanDuel is a blessing. Long gone are the days of declined deposits and strange deposit methods. Funding your account here is as simple as buying something from Amazon.
Withdrawals are typically processed right to your PayPal account or a check in the mail. I always use PayPal because it’s the easiest and fastest way to get your money. A PayPal account is free so I recommend going ahead and setting one up now. If you win a large tournament or end up with a lot of money in your account for whatever reason, you can also request a wire transfer withdrawal.
- Minimum deposit: $10
- Maximum deposit: $10,000 (e-mail [email protected] if you need to deposit more)
- Credit/debit cards accepted: VISA, MasterCard, Discover and Amex
- PayPal accepted
- Withdrawal methods: PayPal, paper check and sometimes wire transfer
Each player earns points for your fantasy team as he accumulates important stats for his position. Quarterbacks earn points for touchdown passes, pitchers earn points for strikeouts and so on. However, it is useful to understand the exact scoring system if you’re considering switching over to FanDuel from some other fantasy site. Here’s a look at how points are earned in each league.
There’s no real reason not to have an account here. FanDuel is the leader in daily fantasy sports and I think everyone should have an account by default. Even if you end up playing somewhere else, you’ll probably want to have an account so you can at least play in the site’s major fantasy championships. No other fantasy site has larger tournaments or bigger prizes.
If there was one thing I could change about Fanduel.com, it would be the addition of more sports leagues. There are a lot of opportunities out there with golf, auto racing, soccer and other sports. The odds are they’ll expand into new sports eventually so this isn’t a major complaint.