FanDuel is the oldest site currently in the industry and one of the big reasons daily fantasy sports have become so mainstream.
The founder of the company, however, has his roots in Northern Ireland. Nigel Ecceles, who was raised on a dairy from in Northern Ireland’s County Tyrone, went to college at St. Andrews in Scotland and after college started a betting site in London that was later acquired by Betfair. He then went on to consulting, before launching Hubdub, a betting market for betting on elections and news stories.
Hubdub ended up being a failure for Ecceles, and he soon started down another path. After looking over the fine print in the UIGEA [A], Ecceles noticed an exception had been made for fantasy sports because they were considered games of skill and not luck.
Eccles, along with four others, launched FanDuel in 2009. As of 2015, FanDuel has over 1.1 million accounts, 2% of the 41 million fantasy sports players, in the USA [B].
Like DraftKings, FanDuel has had several rounds of venture capital funding from some of the biggest firms in the world. In Jan. 2013, they received an $11 million investment from Comcast Ventures [C], which was followed a year later by a $70 million investment [D]. Their list of investors includes NBC Sports, the Shamrock Group, and even the NBA. They signed a multi-year partnership with the NBA [E] in Nov. 2014 and are now the “Official One-Day Fantasy Basketball Game of the NBA.”
The company continues to grow rapidly as daily fantasy sports become more and more popular each year. In 2014, they achieved over $57 million in revenue.
FanDuel offers new users a 100% bonus up to $200 on their first deposit. This offer is smaller than some of the other sites in the industry, but there’s an important caveat regarding their first-time bonus offer. Daily fantasy bonuses can take quite some time to roll over, especially compared to the online poker or sports betting bonuses that many players may be used to clearing. At FanDuel, this isn’t a worry. They will have the lifetime of their accounts to clear their deposit bonus.
Players won’t receive their deposit bonus up front. As they play real-money games, the bonus will slowly be unlocked. On FanDuel, the rate is slightly faster than many other DFS sites. The bonus will be unlocked in players’ accounts at a rate of 4% of a contest’s entry fee. For example, if a user buys into a contest of $35, they will unlock $1.20 of their bonus.
For every real-money game entered on FanDuel, players will earn FanDuel Points (FDP). These will be credited to players regardless of whether they win or lose their particular league. FanDuel may also occasionally run promotions that will increase the rate of how fast FDPs are earned.
FDPs can be used to enter any paid contests, just as you would with cash in your account. Select any league you wish to join, and use your points instead of cash. You will still earn FDPs for a contest in which you use points as a buy-in.
They also offer monthly freerolls for users with larger numbers of FDPs. There are several tiers, but the platinum tier offers players a $7,000 freeroll and requires a minimum of $50,000 monthly FDPs.
FanDuel’s rewards program is similar to that of DraftKings, which has a point system VIP program. However, DraftKings also has a points store where users may purchase other items, such as DFS or poker lessons and vacation packages.
DK doesn’t offer monthly freerolls, though, something that FanDuel has every month for players. FanDuel is also in the process of revamping their rewards program and perhaps will add a store and other prizes. To my knowledge, DraftKings doesn’t offer promotions that allow players to earn VIP points faster than normal either.
Sport and League Offerings
FanDuel offers games for every major sport. Daily contests for MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL are all constants in their lobby. They also offer college basketball and football leagues as well.
Noticeably gone from FanDuel’s list of offerings is PGA Tour golf. From my understanding, FanDuel’s management is concerned with the legality of offering fantasy PGA contests. Until that becomes a bit clearer, players will have to go elsewhere for PGA contests.
FanDuel sticks with the salary cap format for all their contests, but they have quite a selection of games. Their cash game field offers head-to-heads, 50/50s, triple-ups, and many more options. Players can also create leagues and invite their friends or open it to the general public.
Buy-ins for contests range all the way from free to a whopping $10,600 entry. There are buy-ins available for any bankroll level and for every sport and type of contest.
Their cash game action is second to none. With daily fantasy’s largest player base, there are games available to join until the final minutes before the day’s games start.
Their true draw may be their tournament action, however. FanDuel’s Guaranteed Prize Pool tournaments are available every night of the year and come with varying buy-in levels. There are hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of guaranteed money every night of the year for just about every sport.
Their seasonal championship prize pools are the biggest in fantasy sports. In 2014, the FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship had a prize pool of $7 million dollars. The winner got a $2 million dollar first prize, a three-day vacation in Vegas and a private jet ride home.
Their fantasy baseball and basketball championships also had $3 million and $1.2 million dollar prize pools, respectively. These culmination tournaments are often held in exotic locations, like Las Vegas.
FanDuel’s interface is certainly above average in the daily fantasy world, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Overall, their second-closest competitor, DraftKings, has them beat handily when it comes to interface and lobby. That’s not to say they don’t have a strong product, but it’s a distant second to DK.
Their lobby and interface are simple and professional looking. It’s excellent for someone who is new to daily fantasy sports. They have several filters on the side that break down contests by particular sports and league types. Users can also sort games by entry fee and start time.
FanDuel’s lineup page allows players to manage their lineups and contests, but there is one glaring drawback. There is no “export lineup” button that enables you to export your lineup to multiple contests. This is a huge drawback and makes joining contests extremely tedious.
FanDuel, more than any other daily fantasy site, is geared towards the recreational DFS player. They impose rules on how many low-level contests experienced players can join and update their player pricing a lot less frequently than other DFS sites.
FanDuel’s mobile site is a nice adaption of their desktop platform. It works seamlessly and seems to be 100% bug free. Players can enter and view contests, modify lineups, and add funds to their account from FanDuel’s mobile site.
Customer service is top notch. They’re not only extremely helpful, but they take time to listen to player suggestions, feedback, and input on their contests. This input has already spawned several new contest types.
They once used to offer phone support and live chat but now only offer email support. They also have an extremely active Twitter account (@FanDuel) that answers questions on the fly. They answer emails quickly, usually within a few hours, but it may take up to 24 hours to get a response (this is rare).
FanDuel accepts deposits through Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Discover, and PayPal. All of these methods are instant, and there are no fees charged to players for depositing.
Withdrawals are processed through PayPal or paper check. PayPal deposits are processed within 48 hours, except on weekends, where they will be processed the next business day. Cashouts to PayPal are generally faster, usually being processed on the same business day.
Players can also request a check by mail, which will hit their doorsteps in 7–10 business days. Both methods, PayPal, and check, come with no processing fee to customers.
FanDuel is an excellent site to begin your journey into daily fantasy, and they’re the market leaders for good reason. No site will offer larger tournament fields and bigger guarantees than FanDuel, as well as more action. Their interface has a few drawbacks, but it’s still one of the best pieces of software out there and is extremely easy to pick up for those new to daily fantasy.
Author: Joseph Falchetti
Copyright: OnlineBetting.com 2015