An In-Depth look at DraftKings (Fantasy eSports)

The History of DraftKings

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DraftKings was established in 2012 by a trio of former VistaPrint executives. After an initial funding of $1.4 million from Ryan Moore and Accomplice, DraftKings big break came from a private investment by Major League Baseball, the first ever professional sports organization to invest in daily fantasy sports. Three years later, DraftKings now has exclusive contracts with Major League Baseball, Major League Hockey, ESPN, and Fox Sports.

After capturing such a large spectrum of the professional sports league daily fantasy market, where could DraftKings expand their market to next? eSports, of course. With such a large vault of cash to work with (over $1 billion a year in payouts alone), DraftKings has an opportunity to establish an everlasting foothold in the eSports betting world.

Betting Options

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There are obvious obstacles that DraftKings must overcome (they just started offering fantasy play for eSports three weeks ago), but their reputation with daily fantasy sports and insurmountable cash flow make them a very trustworthy site to use. They’re entering the field at the most opportune time as well, piggybacking off the popularity of this year’s 2015 League of Legends World Championship. As DraftKing’s co-founder Matt Kalish so blatantly put it, “eSports is one of the world’s most popular spectator sports, and we are excited to introduce League of Legends to our industry-leading fantasy platform as a way to bring fans worldwide closer to the game.”

DraftKings didn’t just stop there either. Wanting to become more involved with the eSports competitive scene, and also to promote their brand, the company partnered with a plethora of established eSports organizations, such as Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, Team SoloMid, Complexity Gaming, SK Gaming, and Mousesports.

 Betting Types

Those who are already familiar with DraftKings daily fantasy style in regards to their previous professional sports leagues will find the eSports playstyle quick to adapt to. Players can compete in daily or weekly contests after paying an entry fee (entry fees vary by contest, some contests are also free). From there, players will be able to create a roster composed of individual League of Legends gamers from the competitive teams that are competing on that given day or week. They will then face off against other competitors in their respective contest group.

Players earn points based off the individual performances of the gamers they have drafted. For instance, points are rewarded for kills and assists. The player that accrues the most points at the end of the day or week wins the contest, and whatever prize money that goes with it. The best part is, unlike other betting sites that provide head-to-head matchups or other betting types, the ambiguity of betting laws in certain countries is avoided by DraftKings (meaning customers in the United States can use DraftKings).

If this setup sounds familiar for the avid League of Legend’s players, it’s because it is. Riot (the creators of League of Legends) developed their own Fantasy LCS platform a few years ago. The main difference? Money, of course. Riot’s Fantasy LCS was developed for entertainment purposes and to get their fans more involved with League of Legends. The concept had already been established, it just needed the right financial group (DraftKings) to expand it further.

Payouts and Deposits

Depositing money on DraftKings is quick and easy. After creating an account, users will be directed to the deposit page. Deposits can be made from a minimum of $5 up to $2,000. DraftKings supports deposits from all major credit card companies and PayPal. After you’ve earned $20 on DraftKings, you can withdraw your earnings. Users can either choose to have a paper check or a PayPal transfer to receive their funds (after the original deposit is paid in full). Withdrawals are processed Monday-Friday from 9 AM ET to 5 PM ET and usually take 2-7 business days to complete.

Customer Service

The customer support aspect of DraftKings leaves a lot to be desired. There is no live support or chat option available. They do offer support over the telephone, but hours are limited and reviews have stated that often times they are directed to just leave their name and number for a return call. There is a customer service link and a short form to fill out, as well as an email service. However, for a company as large and growing as DraftKings, you would expect to see a higher quality of service in this department.

Promotional Incentives

DraftKings offers one of the strongest promotional incentives of all the eSports betting sites. Any affiliate or advertiser associated with DraftKings has a promo code available for DraftKings users. DraftKings users will receive a 100% bonus to the amount of cash they deposit to their account after entering the promo code (up to $600). The money will automatically appear in your account after your first deposit.

Conclusion

DraftKings is a reputable company with an established core user group. They’re relatively new to the eSports scene, but they offer a unique way to bet. Having the ability to draft players makes viewing the competition more meaningful as well. It’s still too early to accurately judge how well they will perform in this market (League of Legends is their first and only eSports event at the moment), but their past success indicates they’ll make it work.

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