It’s incredible how quickly the daily fantasy sports market is becoming crowded. The idea of online fantasy has been around since the 90s but the industry never really developed into anything with staying power until recently. The recent influx of betting sites can largely be attributed to two major pieces of federal legislation.
Quick Picks: Best Fantasy Sites Today
First, we had the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. The UIGEA made it a point to explain that fantasy sports leagues are NOT considered gambling. This was the first major milestone for the industry. But even then, nearly all fantasy leagues took place offline.
The second major milestone happened in 2011. A federal judge with the Department of Justice issued a ruling on the federal Wire Act that said the DOJ now considers the Wire Act as only pertaining to sports betting and not other forms of betting. Previous to the ruling, the Wire Act was viewed as a major obstacle to ever legalizing online poker, online casinos and real money fantasy leagues.
So with those two pieces of legislation out of the way, the fantasy betting industry was given space to breathe. It’s true that some sites had already been operating since before the DOJ ruling but the ruling massaged the public perception of online fantasy. It lent just one more bit of credence to the idea that online leagues played for real money aren’t some dubious, quasi-legal activity.
FanDuel.com came online in 2009, DraftKings opened in 2012 and numerous other fantasy sites have come online in between. Fantasy players today have plenty of options. There are already at least a dozen medium and large fantasy sites operating right now.
Back before there were so many options, you either played online fantasy or you didn’t. Now it’s worth taking a little time to find the perfect fantasy site for your needs. That is where our fantasy site reviews enter the picture. We’re in the process of putting up thorough and honest reviews of all the major sites so that you can find the one that best suits your needs.
This reviews section will be a constant work in progress from now on. As new sites come online and start to look like they might have some staying power, we’ll try them out for ourselves and publish accounts of our experiences right here. So, here’s what we have right now:
Not All Fantasy Sites are the Same
I’ll admit that before we started going through and putting together information about the various sites out there, I just stuck with FanDuel and DraftKings. That was about all I knew and I was fine with that. I never realized just how much variation there is between different sites.
The smartest fantasy sites have taken novel approaches in order to differentiate themselves from the big players. It would be tough to compete against a big name like FanDuel if all you offered was the same experience except with fewer players and smaller prizes.
What some sites have done is come up with new types of contests, different draft rules and even coverage of new sports. For example, we’re starting to see fantasy sites bring back Snake Drafts and season long leagues. Other sites have expanded into sports such as auto racing and MMA.
Some sites are experimenting with brand new types of drafts. One site now hosts salary cap games in which you begin the contest with bonus fantasy points if you spend less than your cap. Others are hosting leagues that combine Snake Drafts with salary caps. The options are already beginning to get a little mind-boggling and it’s only going to increase from here. This industry is just getting started.
Deposit methods also vary from one site to the next. So far, every site has been good about accepting credit cards, debit cards and PayPal as a starting point. Some sites are now starting to accept payments via other e-wallets such as Dwolla and Skrill. At least one site has even started accepting Bitcoins.
There are already hundreds of potential combinations between sports leagues, deposit methods, drafting styles and other factors. One of our goals with these fantasy reviews is to make it simple for you to choose a site that offers exactly what you’re looking for.
Let’s just say, for example, that you would like to find a site that hosts NFL and CFB leagues, accepts PayPal and hosts snake draft competitions. Eventually, we’d like to make it simple for you to filter through those choices to find a list of all sites that meet those exact criteria.
The Graveyard: See our graveyard for old reviews of fantasy sites that are now closed or otherwise defective. We save certain outdated pages just in case it proves useful to someone, somewhere in the future.