Fantasy sports leagues have been around, often as informal neighbourhood contests run by a local pub, since the 1940s at least. Players all have the same budget, from which they must “buy” a fantasy team at the start of the season, based on the prices of actual players in the relevant sport.

Punters then bet on their team’s performance, which is determined by the real-world statistics of the relevant players throughout the season’s contests. The statistical results are converted to points each week, and the punters who amass the most points over a season win. As fantasy sports grew in popularity, many were covered in newspapers, which listed the relevant statistics to adjust each team’s performance.

Daily Fantasy Sports Evolve

Fantasy golf, American football and baseball were all established in the US in the ’50s and ’60s. The ’80s and the rise of email allowed fantasy sports leagues to spring up across offices, companies and campuses, covering a wide variety of sporting disciplines. Soccer, cricket, rugby and basketball were among the fantasy sports that became very popular.

All these sports still exist in fantasy versions. However, the massive worldwide growth in certain sports, plus the pervasiveness of technology, mean that modern internet users don’t need to commit to an entire season of fantasy sports betting. Daily fantasy sports, aka DFS, are now an option, focused on all the sports already listed, as well as auto racing, ice hockey, horse racing, eSports and even sumo wrestling.

Picking Teams Is A Skill

DFS work on the same principle as the older version, but statistics, and hence your fantasy team performances, are now updated on a daily or weekly basis. Prizes are paid from the pool of bets, generally proportionally to top teams on the leader board at the end of each phase of play.

The legal position regarding betting on DFS depends on where you live, but it is accepted in most jurisdictions that allow online betting to begin with. What may count in its favour is the knowledge that picking a team with winning potential in any fantasy sport is definitely a matter of skill, rather than luck.

This fact has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of a US state supreme court, so legal access to DFS betting should continue expanding. Major service providers in the market currently include DraftKings and FanDuel, with competition from smaller operations like Yahoo! Sports, DRAFT and Fantasy Aces.

Versatility Of DFS

Another factor that makes DFS an attractive proposition for mobile betting enthusiasts is its versatility. If quarantine shuts down Major League Baseball in the US for a season, punters around the world can still bet on fantasy MLB, with weekly performances based on statistics from the Korea Baseball Association, South Korea’s professional league.

The skills remain the same: betting enthusiasts who rate players according to careful criteria, keep an eye on injury reports or potential doping scandals, and plug all the statistical strengths and weaknesses of individual players into an algorithm to select the strongest potential team, are more likely to see their picks prosper from week to week.