Written by:
Alex Windsor
Fact checked by:
Oliver Dickinson
June 28, 2024

How Does DraftKings Work?

How Does DraftKings Work?

Daily fantasy sports are rapidly growing among US players due to their availability, ease of entry, and potential returns. Plus, you’re testing your sports knowledge against other players, so you don’t have to worry about the house during these games.

DraftKings is one of the US’s most trustworthy daily fantasy operators, but its website can be overwhelming even to the experienced player. In this review, you’ll find all you need to know to get started on DraftKings, strategies to apply, and available games. 

The Rise of Daily Fantasy Sports (and DraftKings)

Fantasy sports has always been a great form of competition for sports enthusiasts, but the season-long format has always been a drawback for some players. Daily fantasy sports were introduced to resolve this issue by offering daily or week-long events for players to join, along with other benefits such as:

Daily fantasy sports has been around since the late 2000s, with sites like Fantasy Sports Live and SnapDraft providing the initial push. In 2009, FanDuel also began providing DFS services, becoming the top name in the market.

Despite FanDuel’s position at the top, the launch of DraftKings in 2012 opened a new chapter in the DFS scene as the competition between both companies would see them secure 95% of the DFS market by 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, controversies surrounding these DFS operators would cause various states to push against their unregulated operations.

One of the accusations levied against the operators had to do with employees’ use of insider information. Initially, DFS operators didn’t prevent employees from participating in DFS contests with other operators. As a result, the access to insider information gave these employees an unfair advantage against the average player.

On another war front, DraftKings and FanDuel would also have to deal with a cease-and-desist order from the New York attorney general, citing similarities between DFS and sports betting (which was then illegal). However, in 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 in a different lawsuit, giving states the right to allow sports betting within their borders. 

As we’ve noted in our DraftKings review, DK would use this opportunity to secure its place as a sports betting operator while still offering its DFS services, with tighter regulations from state authorities. The effect of these tighter regulations has been noticeable in recent years, with various states focusing on Pick’em games on DFS sites like Betr, PrizePicks, and Underdog Fantasy.

As of writing, the future is bright for DFS, with various estimates showing massive potential revenue from this sector. However, an issue we’re keeping an eye on is the differences in how states define DFS games and how they may affect DraftKings and other operators.

What is DraftKings? Quick Overview

DraftKings Sportsbook

  • Minimum deposit $5
  • Sleek and easy-to-use user interface
  • Plethora of betting options
  • Range of regular promotions
  • Limited withdrawal options
  • Needs a better rewards system
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DraftKings was initially launched in 2012 to introduce daily fantasy sports as an improvement to the seasonal fantasy leagues that everyone had come to love. Today, many online gambling enthusiasts recognize the company as one of the top names in the US gambling sector, but its journey wasn’t smooth sailing to the top.

DraftKings started as a Daily Fantasy site and quickly grew to become the second-largest operator in the market within two years. Its rapid growth also paved the way for purchasing other market leaders like DraftStreet and StarStreet, further expanding its customer base.

Beyond its acquisitions and services, partnerships with the MLB, NHL, Fox Sports, and ESPN also helped position the company to push its marketing campaign forward. However, ESPN would later back out of this partnership due to controversies and other issues with DFS services in various US states. 

Over the years, the company has continued to expand its services, and it currently offers legal sports betting and online casino gaming in addition to DFS. Its daily fantasy contests include games from popular sports like Football, Baseball, Basketball, Golf, Soccer, Racing, and many more.

How DraftKings DFS Works

Like every other US service that pays out real money, the DraftKings DFS is only open to individuals who set up an account. The account creation process is straightforward, and you can complete it with these easy steps:

Now, remember that DraftKings offers a daily fantasy service, meaning that instead of picking a team for the entire season, you can pick different teams based on the matches for the day.

On the DraftKings website, you can find a list of all the available contests in the lobby, or you can filter the list by sport, entry fee, game style, or contest type. As you improve your skills, you can also create a contest for other players to join.

Since players can create contests, thousands are usually available, with some accepting over ten thousand participants and a guaranteed prize pool worth millions.

You must secure the most fantasy points among the participants to win a daily fantasy contest. You earn fantasy points based on players’ performance in your lineup, and players receive points based on specific actions. There is a scoring table for each daily fantasy game, and DraftKings has a dedicated page with this information.

When picking a game to participate in, you should note the game style, mode of entry, and contest type. These significantly influence the competition, so I’ve provided details on what to expect.

Game Styles or Formats

There are several game styles to choose from, and these are some popular options:

DraftKings keeps coming up with new styles to meet player needs, and some of the latest additions include the Superflex, Playoff Best Ball, and Pick6 game styles. 

Mode of Entry

DraftKings DFS typically requires players to pay an entry fee to join any contest. However, other options are available for entry, including:

How DraftKings Makes Money

If you’ve visited the DraftKings website or app, you’ll already know that the company is more than just a daily fantasy sports operator. In addition to DFS, DraftKings has its roots in other parts of the US gambling industry, where it generates the bulk of its revenue: 

Does The App Pay Real Money?

DraftKings pays out real money to players who win a DFS contest. To withdraw your winnings from DraftKings, you must have completed the account verification process. Some players may have completed the process during account registration, but if you skipped it, you’ll be forced to do so before submitting a withdrawal request.

Games You Bet On DraftKings

Daily fantasy sports contests are available for many of the most popular sports in the US, and DraftKings is one of the top choices for these games. Its fantasy sports selection consists of more than ten sports and their top leagues, including:

Depending on the sport you select, there is a unique scoring table. For example, while on defense in a fantasy football match, a player will earn 2 points for an interception, 2 points for a blocked kick, and 6 points for a fumble recovery TD. You can learn more about the rules and scoring for each sport on the DraftKings site.

Another unique feature of DraftKings fantasy sports is the contest type of events you can join. These contest types may influence each sport’s payout or winning structure, and the popular DraftKings DFS contests include:

Tips and Strategies

DraftKings Sportsbook

  • Minimum deposit $5
  • Sleek and easy-to-use user interface
  • Plethora of betting options
  • Range of regular promotions
  • Limited withdrawal options
  • Needs a better rewards system
Bet $5, Get $150 In Bonus Bets
Play Now

To become a pro at DFS, you must put in the time and effort. However, you can also build a solid foundation by following these simple tips: 

  1. Try free contests: Although free contests don’t pay out prizes, I recommend you join them if you’re a new player since they offer a zero-risk option to gain firsthand DFS experience.
  2. Join DFS communities: One of the best ways to find new ideas to boost your lineup is by engaging with other fantasy sports players and pros in various communities. On many top forums, players are willing to share their thoughts and strategies, giving you much information to build on.
  3. Use bonuses: Although most of the DraftKings DF promos are usually contests, you can still find offers like match bonuses, Refer-a-friend, and Achievements. By taking advantage of these offers, you can earn DK Dollars and free crowns to enter contests.
  4. Develop an eye for value: Most DFS contests have a salary cap to prevent players from picking a lineup of top-rated players. Therefore, to become a top DFS player, your goal must be to find value in low-priced players and look for how to fit them into your team.
  5. Have multiple lineups: This tip is only helpful if you’re joining a contest that supports multiple entries. In these contests, having different lineups boosts your chances of winning.
  6. Understand the contest type: The strategy you utilize on a 50/50s contest may not work on a multipliers contest, so you must be ready to adapt. The only way you can effectively build a strategy is first to understand the fundamentals of the contest.

Is DraftKings Legit?

DraftKings is a legit operator whose services follow the guidelines of various regulatory bodies in the US.

Despite being a legitimate company, DraftKings has had several legal issues. A few of these issues revolve around certain aspects of its operations, while others have to do with the general interpretation of online gambling laws in different states. Some of its notable legal battles include:

Where is it Legal?

The DraftKings Daily Fantasy service is legal in 44 US states, and there is a map with all its legal states on its website. As of writing, DraftKings doesn’t operate in these states:

Minimum Age to Play

According to the DraftKings website, the minimum age to play varies depending on your state. For players in Alabama and Nebraska, you must be 19+ to use its DFS service, while players in Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and Massachusetts must be 21+. However, the age limit is 18+ for players who don’t reside in any of the aforementioned states.

DraftKings Milestones and Company Info

📖DraftKings Sportsbook
🏛️OwnerDraftKings Inc.
📖ServicesDaily Fantasy Sports, Sports betting, Online casino gaming
🏈Available fantasy sportsFootball, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Hockey, Tennis, MMA, Esports, Racing, Golf
📱Mobile AppYes (iOS and Android apps available on official store)
Available statesDFS available in 44 states except Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington
🔞Age Requirement19+ (Nebraska, Alabama), 21+ (Arizona, Iowa, Massachusetts, Louisiana), 18+ for others
💵Real money payouts✅Yes

DraftKings has come a long way since its launch in 2012, and there have been many notable events over the years. Although we cannot detail everything that has happened with the company, these are some of its noteworthy milestones:

Alex Windsor

Alex is the Head of Content here at Minimum Deposit Betting Sites, leveraging his immense experience in the sports betting and iGaming industry to steer the boat and make sure all of our content is up to par and of the best possible quality.