DraftKings has become the largest DFS site (in terms of entry fees and revenues) out there after being established in 2012. They’ve grown over the years by absorbing competitors such as DraftStreet, StartStreet, and FantasyHub. DraftKings’ growth has also stemmed from their vast array of partnerships. Major League Baseball is an investor/partner with the company, and they have separate $250 million advertising contracts with ESPN and Fox Sports. Their portfolio is padded by partnerships with NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL teams, and even with the New York Liberty in the WNBA. Plans to merge with competitor FanDuel were dismantled by the Federal Trade Commission, so DraftKings will continue as a solo entity in the ever-growing DFS industry.
I’ll be breaking down different aspects of the FanDuel user experience, rating each category on a 0-5 scale.
Game Play/Variety of Games – 5/5
DraftKings can take pride in the fact they offer the most variety in terms of sports available to play of any DFS website. They’re up to 10 different options, offering contests for: MLB, NFL, NBA, PGA, NHL, NASCAR, MMA, Soccer, CFL, and eSports. While the majority of the contests feature a salary-cap-based roster selection process, DraftKings has recently implemented a pick-em format as well. Pick-em contests feature several tiers that hold specific players, and users must choose one player from each tier in order to complete their lineup. DraftKings is clearly trying to diversify their offerings in order to entice new players and retain those that have been around since their inception.
DraftKings has followed movement within the industry when it comes to providing beginner contests for those new to DFS. Sites have been criticized in the past for heavily favoring pros, so DraftKings along with competitors have established new player only contests that allow players to ease their way into the game without losing to much more qualified opponents.
Money Deposit/Withdrawal and Bonuses – 4/5
Depositing money via DraftKings is an extremely simple and streamlined process. DraftKings will accept payment via credit card or a with a direct wire from your bank through PayPal. The money is available to use immediately after the deposit, a great feature that allows players to immediately get in on the action after registering.
Withdrawing money from the site also gives the user two options. Players may remove the money via check or have it directly transferred into their PayPal account/associated bank account. If the withdrawal is made within 90 days of a credit card deposit, however, DraftKings will first reimburse the charge up to the amount deposited, with any surplus coming in as a separate transaction through PayPal or a check. This is a unique feature of the site that can be confusing at first, leading me to deprive them of a perfect 5/5 rating in this category. Checks are allotted a 2-3 week window to arrive, so I would recommend using PayPal to remove funds if capable.
Bonuses/promotions are constantly available through DraftKings, but vary throughout the year. On the top banner of their website is a ‘Promos’ tab with all of their current promotions and offerings. DraftKings uses Frequent Player Points (FPPs) to reward players for every contest they enter, and FPPs can also be given out as deposit bonuses. FPPs allow users to purchase tickets worth a specific monetary value (tickets range from $0.25 to $5,300) that can be used to enter contests. 1 FPP is earned for every $0.25 entered, while 550 FDP will buy you a $1 ticket, so the return isn’t all that great.
Customer Service – 5/5
Like nearly all sites that service customers, DraftKings dedicates a full portion of their site to FAQs. If your question isn’t answered within the 11 different categories provided by DraftKings, emails can be sent to [email protected] or mailed to three different locations. Email is clearly the preferred method here, as they run their support from 6:00 AM EST to 11:59 PM EST every day.
User Experience – 5/5
DraftKings has established a great experience for users on both their website and mobile application. Both platforms allow the user advanced customization when looking for contests to enter. Filters include contest type (GPP, head-to-head, 50/50), slate of games, entry fee, number of entries, prizes, field size, and style (classic or pick-em). With the vast array of game types and sports to choose from, the only criticism can be that there’s too much to choose from. However, DraftKings does a great job having separate tabs and filters for each sport, creating a top-notch user experience.
The DFS industry continues to battle legality concerns on a state-by-state and national basis. DraftKings isn’t as up-front with what qualifications are needed to play like FanDuel (link FanDuel piece) is, as the only restrictions noted within the sites deal with states that you cannot play DraftKings in. Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington are all states in which DraftKings doesn’t offer their product. There appear to be no other restrictions when looking through their site, so as long as you don’t reside in one of the nine states listed above, you’re good to go.
DraftKings innovation and creativity have kept them atop the DFS realm as of late, and that likely won’t change as we move forward. They’ve typically been the first to reform rules based on sharks exploiting fish in their contests, which has brought some great public feedback and made new players feel more comfortable within the site. Their ability to test new sports and game types puts them ahead of the competition, as they continue to provide the user with a unique, cutting edge experience in DFS.