Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is a type of online game where players build a team of real-life athletes and compete against other players in a single day or week-long contest.
Let’s look at how daily fantasy sports differs from traditional fantasy sports, and whether or not it is a form of gambling.
How is Daily Fantasy Sports Different from Traditional Fantasy Sports?
Daily fantasy sports is similar to traditional fantasy sports in that it involves building a team of real-life athletes and competing against other players based on the statistical performance of those athletes.
However, there are some key differences between the two types of fantasy sports:
- Timeframe: DFS contests typically last for a single day or week, while traditional fantasy sports leagues can last for an entire sports season.
- Rosters: In DFS, players draft a new team for each contest, which could be as often as every day. Meanwhile, in traditional fantasy sports, players generally keep the same team for the entire season.
- Waivers: In traditional fantasy sports, players can pick up and drop players from the free agent pool during the season, but in DFS there are no waivers and all players are available to draft in each contest.
- Payout: Participating in DFS through big sites such as DraftKings can consist of hundreds of thousands of competitors who each pay a few dollars to enter the competition, meaning that the winner has the potential to earn a lot more money than from a regular fantasy sports competition.
- Scoring: The scoring systems for DFS and traditional fantasy sports can be different, with DFS often using a more complex scoring system that awards points for a wider range of statistical categories.
Why People Love Daily Fantasy Sports
There are a number of reasons why people might enjoy daily fantasy sports (DFS). Some of the main reasons include:
Strategy - It's a way to engage with sports in a more interactive and strategic way. As opposed to merely watching sports as a spectator, DFS requires participants to build a team of players and make quick decisions.
Money - It offers the chance to win cash prizes. Many people enjoy sports more when there is money on the line, which is the case in DFS.
Low Commitment - It allows for quick and easy participation. With DFS contests lasting for only a single day or week, participants can easily compete without committing to a long-term season-long fantasy league.
Social Aspect - It provides an opportunity to socialize with other sports fans. Many people enjoy the social aspect of DFS, as it allows them to interact with other sports fans and share their passion for sports.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports a Form of Gambling?
Yes, daily fantasy sports is a type of gambling. Although it is not legally considered gambling (since it is perceived by the federal government to be based on skill rather than luck), it still involves wagering real money on unknown outcomes, which is the definition of gambling.
Daily fantasy sports can also easily be a gateway to other forms of gambling that provide more instant gratification, which can be even more addictive.
Daily Fantasy Sports vs. Sports Betting
Daily fantasy sports is very closely related to sports betting, and would even be considered a type of sports betting. Two of the biggest sports betting sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, are also two of the biggest sites for daily fantasy sports.
One difference between the two is that in DFS, you are competing against many other players, whereas in sports betting, you are betting against the house.
The other main difference between the two is that in DFS, you are creating a lineup that you feel has the best chance of performing well, and in sports betting, you are wagering on one particular outcome.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal?
Daily fantasy sports is legal in nearly every state except for Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington state. There are a few other states where DFS is legal, but only through certain websites.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports Addictive?
Yes, daily fantasy sports can be addicting. Daily fantasy sports, like other forms of gambling, causes the brain to release dopamine, which results in a pleasant feeling and a desire to keep playing.
While some people can enjoy playing DFS occasionally without experiencing harm, others may develop a serious obsession with the game that can be hard to break.
How to Tell if Daily Fantasy Sports is a Hobby or an Addiction
A hobby is an activity that someone enjoys doing in their spare time, while an addiction is a compulsive behavior that a person feels unable to control.
A hobby is typically something that brings joy and relaxation to a person's life, while an addiction can cause negative consequences such as financial problems, relationship problems, and health problems.
Ask yourself: is daily fantasy sports positively or negatively impacting your life?
There are several signs that may indicate a problem with daily fantasy sports, including:
- Spending more time or money on daily fantasy sports than intended.
- Trying to cut down or quit DFS without success.
- Constantly checking scores and stats.
- Neglecting important responsibilities or activities due to daily fantasy sports.
- Experiencing financial or relationship problems as a result of daily fantasy sports.
- Continuing to play despite negative consequences on physical or mental health.
- Friends or family members have expressed concern about the behavior.
Get Help for Gambling Addiction
At Algamus Gambling Treatment Center, we provide residential treatment for all types of gambling disorders - including fantasy sports and sports betting addiction.
If you feel that you or a loved one are struggling with gambling, it’s best to seek professional help as soon as possible. Speak to our gambling counselors to learn more about our treatment process and how we can help. For specific questions about this topic, leave a comment below.