Out of Bounds: Fan Duel, DraftKings offer new twist on fantasy sports

You have seen the countless promotions, commercials and other advertisements for Fan Duel and DraftKings, but you’ve probably wondered what exactly they are and if they are some kind of scam. In essence, Fan Duel—a fantasy football franchise—is gambling. You deposit a certain amount of money each week and you get a salary cap to “sign” National Football League players. The more money you put in, the greater the risk, but the bigger the payoff if you win.

Fan Duel has a couple of different options for its users. First and foremost, it is not a season long commitment. Their games work on a week-to-week basis, so if your players get injured or have a bad game, you can get a new lineup the next week.

They also have different styles of play. You can participate in a big tournament with one big winner or you can do head-to-head matches against one player.

Fan Duel’s biggest danger is addiction. It is easy to see how someone could lose a lot of money by not being careful. They encourage you to join leagues with higher entrance fees—leagues that boast bigger winnings. Because a lot of these leagues have a lot of participants, if you were to join a more expensive league, there would be a bigger payout.

Fan Duel also hosts National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball leagues. This means someone can bet money on fantasy sports every week out of the year. All of these things could spell a lot of trouble for someone who may have a gambling problem.

The leagues do not have a fixed cost—some having a $300 entry fee. That’s just per week and doing this every week can certainly add up.

DraftKings is another site very similar to Fan Duel for its weekly pools. If someone really wanted to, they could be betting on both of these sites all 52 weeks of the year. That’s a lot of money lost if the person isn’t very successful—which, odds are, they probably won’t be.

This is not to say that sites like Fan Duel and DraftKings are all bad. With proper caution, budgeting and self-control, it can be a very enjoyable way to possibly win a little bit of money. Many people like to play the lottery—this is like that except with a little more control. The lottery is pretty much completely up to chance, whereas betting on fantasy football places more control of the outcome in your own hands.

Fan Duel is growing very fast and probably won’t be slowing down any time soon. People love to play fantasy sports and the opportunity to win money usually entices a lot of people. It is a great thing for awareness of fantasy sports as well as for people who like to gamble recreationally, but it requires a lot of discretion. It can be very easy for people to lose a lot of money to sites like these. Hopefully, that won’t be what these sites become known for.