The world of daily fantasy sports is exploding in popularity, with commercials for various sites seen on ESPN, or head on sports talk stations, or even seen on the outfield walls at baseball stadiums. Yet as an American who doesn’t get to bet on sports teams online legally, or play poker online, (or who had their poker money seized), it’s natural to ask: Are play-for-real money daily fantasy sports websites like FanDuel legit?
Yes, FanDuel is legit, safe and legal. Not only is it the world’s largest daily fantasy sports site, with over one million active players, FanDuel is partially owned by both N.B.C. and the N.B.A. Here’s what a recent Washington Post story had to say:
“Daily fantasy sports Web sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings have become the most legitimate way for most sports fans to risk money on sports.”
It is believed that FanDuel is the oldest daily fantasy sports site, (albeit still a young one). Started in 2007, and open for business in 2009, FanDuel recently reported that it had over a million paid active users. (*Full disclosure: While I play on FanDuel, I am also an affiliate for the site, and will receive a commission if you register via one of the banner ads and play there).
(Related: Promo code for FanDuel for 2016)
According to FanDuel themselves:
“In the last three months, we awarded more than $330,000,000 directly back to our users — a record for our industry. We’ve grabbed 80% market share of the daily fantasy sports industry, which translates to 1,012,265 paid actives for the last quarter.”
Adding to the FanDuel’s legitimacy is the fact it has partnerships with ESPN, Comcast, and C.B.S. sports, among others. Granted, partnering with media didn’t help the legitimacy of poker sites like FullTilt.com, who notoriously went belly up and failed to pay out money owed to its players, however there is a big difference between FanDuel and online poker sites:
Fan duel is legal.
A special carve out exemption in the UIEGA bill of 2006 (the bill that effectively shut down online poker), specifically allowed the playing of fantasy sports for money.
(Related: How is FanDuel legal?)
In 2014, the site generated over $57 million in revenue. Its revenue figures and player pool make it by far the world’s largest daily fantasy sports website, with one million users versus the 350,000 users of the next largest site, DraftKings.
In the summer of 2014, the NBA announced a partnership with FanDuel that, according to a person familiar with the terms, gave the league an ownership stake greater than 2.5 percent of the company.
In September 2014, a group of corporate investors that included NBC Sports, provided FanDuel with $70 million in financing. Yes, FanDuel is legit.
Lest you think I’m just a FanDuel honk, I should point out that there are other daily fantasy sports sites out there, (like the aforementioned DraftKings), that are legit too.
In fact, Major League Baseball became the first major sport to partner with a daily fantasy sport site when they purchased a small stake in DraftKings.
As for FanDuel, in addition to being partially owned by the N.B.A. league itself, it has also struck a partnership with the Orlando Magic. The Magic are the first specific team to partner with a daily fantasy sports site. FanDuel is also the official partner of the N.F.L’s Washington Redskins. They also have marketing partnerships with 15 other NFL teams. DraftKings has marketing deals with five N.F.L. teams.
Is FanDuel Safe?
FanDuel has over six million registered users, and they’ve stated they have paid out $75 million per week for some weeks.
Winners of these payouts can collect through PayPal, or by a check, while deposits can be safely made instantaneously through PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.
(Related: How to Play daily fantasy baseball).
Personally, I am comfortable playing, and depositing money on both FanDuel and DraftKings, and have full confidence that winnings would be paid in a timely manner, (that is, if I ever won). Unlike those offshore poker or sportsbook sites in places like Isle of Man, or who-knows-where in Costa Rica, FanDuel has offices in New York City, (and Edinburgh, Scotland, which is home to its founder Nigel Eccles), and has recently opened up a new office in Orlando, Florida.
With a million active users, a lack of complaints about not being paid, partnerships with the N.B.A. and NBC, along with millions in Wall Street backing, FanDuel is most certainly legit. (Photos courtesy of grantlairdjr and And Steve Jurvetson via Flickr).