The iGaming industry in the United States has undergone a lot of change in the past decade. As more states pass regulations to make online casinos and sports betting legal, the market has become more competitive than ever. Similarly, the daily fantasy sports (DFS) space is bigger than ever, as it has evolved and innovated as a legal alternative to sports fans all over the country.

What are Daily Fantasy Sports?

Daily Fantasy Sports have developed from the traditional season-long fantasy sports leagues into daily or weekly real money “prop games” and contests. The concept of a “prop game”, or “proposition game”, is a bet on an event not directly affecting the outcome of a sports match. Other formats of DFS also include contests, which are a buy-in tournament with a pool of players being ranked on the fantasy points generated by their athlete(s) and/or team of choice.

A Game of Chance or Skill?

The biggest question surrounding the legality of DFS across all states is whether it is a game of chance or skill. In most states, this is considered a game of skill and it is ultimately what differentiates it with sports betting from a legal perspective. This notion has allowed DFS to be legal in over 30 states across the country, compared to only 18 states where sports betting is currently legal and live, according to the American Gaming Association. Consequently, the DFS industry has undergone high growth in the past decade, generating over $350 million in revenue in 2019, according to figures provided by Legal Sports Report from the New York State Gaming Commission.

Generally, sports betting and DFS are seen to be different from a legal standpoint. Nevertheless, the sports betting market across the US has been allowed to flourish because of the precedent and popularity that DFS had already established. A study backed by the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association stated that “79% of fantasy sports players who are not current sports wagerers say they will likely participate in sports betting once legalized in their state.”.

Competition and Innovation

It is no secret that the DFS industry is largely dominated by two brands, DraftKings and FanDuel. However, this has not stopped new brands from aggressively entering the market and using new innovative games to attract their customer base. This is the case with Monkey Knife Fight, a brand that has established themselves within the past two NFL seasons to compete with the industry titans. Monkey Knife Fight offers a pioneering variation of DFS with simple prop games played against the house, rather than with a pool of experts.

Affiliate Marketing in the DFS Space

Additionally, affiliate marketing has greatly helped the development of DFS industry and is a significant digital channel when it comes to the acquisition of new players. Fantasy sports have always relied on statistical gurus advising players on the choices to make for their picks. With a digital presence, whether it is a website, social media page or forum, these experts have become key affiliates in the space with a focus on content. International media companies have also aggressively entered the US market promoting DFS brands, along with sports betting, casinos and lotteries depending on the state.

To sum up, the DFS industry in the US is larger than ever, and even though it has paved the way for the legalization and popularity of sports betting. It has proven that both products can co-exist and be successful in a competitive market driven by innovative brands.