CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of Aaron Todd

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

"Show me the money!" DFS sites' lack of transparency has negative impact on player experience

30 September 2015

As Week 1 of the NFL season approached, the editorial team at Casino City started discussing what we'd like to do as part of our coverage. Of course we wanted to run some top 10 columns on how you could bet on the games, but with the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry booming, we thought we'd add some content for people who were new to the industry and might appreciate some analysis.

Dan Podheiser's weekly NFL DFS picks column was a result of that conversation, but we also discussed writing a roundup of the biggest guaranteed prize pool (GPP) tournaments the sites had to offer. With DraftKings guaranteeing a $10 million prize pool with $2 million to the winner and FanDuel offering a $5 million guarantee with a $1 million winner, we thought our readers might enjoy a look at the lineups that produced the seven-figure wins.

Unfortunately, we haven't been able to write those columns, because the two largest DFS sites don't make the results of their tournaments very easy to find. Neither DraftKings nor FanDuel allow players to search for results of tournaments that they did not participate through the sites' tournament lobbies.

To be fair, DraftKings' Twitter account posts a link to its Millionaire Maker results several times a day on Sunday and Monday, but the only way we've been able to find the results of FanDuel's marquee tournament is to enter ourselves. And based on my DFS results, I'd rather not spend the $25 per week required to do that.

We asked FanDuel if it would provide us with a link to the results so we could write a story about the winners, and Justine Sacco, the director of communications at FanDuel, told us that it doesn't publish results publicly. When we explained our reason for wanting a copy of the results, and that without them, we wouldn't be able to write about FanDuel's $5 million guarantee tournament, she responded only with "That's OK."

Flippant answer aside, DFS operators are the furthest thing from transparent when it comes to their tournament offerings. Players have no way of knowing what it takes to cash in a tournament unless they enter, they have no way of easily searching which players scored the most fantasy points on a given night, and they have no way of knowing which players are crushing the tournaments they're not playing.

DFS is often compared to poker, and in many ways that comparison is fair. Remember all the PokerStars.net and FullTiltPoker.net ads that used to air on ESPN? That's nothing compared to the $107 million spent by DraftKings and FanDuel in September, according to iSpot.tv. Like poker a decade ago, DFS is undergoing a huge boom right now (it was the main topic of conversation on the second day of the Global Gaming Expo), and it's in the crosshairs of legislators who are wondering how a gambling product managed to sneak through the regulatory landscape and offer Americans the opportunity to bet on sporting events.

(Right about now, DFS supporters everywhere are crying foul at my characterization of fantasy sports as gambling, but let's call a spade a spade. DraftKings has a weekly webcast on Monday nights called "The Sweat Show" . . . if that doesn't imply that it's offering a gambling product, I don't know what does. But no one makes the point better than Funny or Die.)

Most online poker sites, however, make the results of their tournaments public. Click on the PokerStars tournament lobby and you'll see a log of tournaments that ended days earlier. Results of big tournaments are often still posted weeks after the tournament has ended. (Bodog Poker is an exception to this – all their games are anonymous.) Try to find the result of last night's MLB Moonshot on DraftKings and you won't get very far.

There are legitimate business reasons that DFS sites would want to prevent players from having easy access to the results of all their tournaments. Since online poker results are public, companies have popped up that collect hand histories and allow poker players to scout out the worst players to find the best or most profitable games. DFS players with full access to results could easily do the same thing, challenging the worst players to heads-up matches in an attempt to make an easy buck and increasing the churn rate for new players, who would quickly discover they don't have a chance.

A perhaps more sinister reason to hide the results is to keep players from understanding just how unlikely it is that they will win a big prize. That being said, DFS sites are targeting millennials, who by and large are very informed consumers, or at least want to be.

While at 37 years old I may be considered a little too long in the tooth to be a millennial, I'm still very much in the target market for DFS sites. It's no wonder DraftKings gave me a free $20 entry in their first $10 Million NFL Millionaire Maker just for making a $25 deposit in early September.

In one month as a real-money player on DraftKings, I've entered 41 events. I started out playing the $3 MLB Moonshot, because I liked the idea of turning a $3 entry fee into a five-figure prize. But after cashing just once in six tries, I decided to try my hand at the $1,000 Daily Dollar event, which I liked because it only allows players to enter once, rather than several hundred times. I also started to jump into the $1 50/50 and Triple Up games, and since I was having more success in those, I stopped playing the Daily Dollar and focused on trying to build a bankroll in smaller events.

Then, on Sept. 18, I posted the best score in an MLB 20-person 50/50 and a 20-person Triple Up. I was psyched that I had won, but since those tournaments offer a flat payout structure, I was also curious how I might have done in the MLB Moonshot or the Daily Dollar. Unfortunately, since I didn't play in those tournaments, I have no way of knowing how my performance would have translated in bigger events. Maybe I would give those tournaments a shot again if I knew I would have put together a big win, but because I don't know how my score would have fared, it makes it harder for me to justify doing so.

The lack of transparency at DFS sites has a negative impact on the player experience, and can only lead one to wonder: Just what are they trying to hide?
"Show me the money!" DFS sites' lack of transparency has negative impact on player experience is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.