Online Sports Betting vs. Daily Fantasy Sports: What's the Difference?

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

Today we visit the subject matter of Online Sports Betting vs. Daily Fantasy Sports and what the difference is.

The topic came up during a heated exchange via Twitter.

Mo (@GazipuraMo) tweeted:

"I always thought distinguishing between OSB & DFS was simple DFS = games played against other players OSB = games played against the house @OPReport will tell you otherwise. However, he won’t tell you he has a vested interest in @UnderdogFantasy."

First, Sports Betting Hall of Fame entrant Joe Brennan points out that GazipuraMo really loves his DraftKings, which is a direct competitor of UnderdogFantasy.

"I think Mo is generally a good guy (if a shameless cheerleader for $DKNG). But making this kind of assertion, which is clearly incorrect, is perhaps more illustrative of the relative lack of knowledge 99.9% of investors have about sports gaming," Brennan Jr. says.


@OPReport is none other than Chris Grove, a well-regarded journalist in the gaming sector.  Grove was quick to respond to the assertion made by GazipuraMo.

"If you want to have an actual conversation, fine; if you want to make false accusations, then enjoy your monologue. I am publicly identified as an investor in Underdog and I'm proud to be so. I'm not hiding anything. But you clearly want to distort things for your own agenda."

GaipuraMo responded:

"Why do you think $DKNG and @FanDuel haven’t added Props to their DFS platforms when their tech is already built? Do you believe they would get a cease and desist if they did so?"

Darren Heitner of Heitner Legal chimed in:

"I don't have a vested interest in Underdog Fantasy and would state your tweet is too simplistic. DFS is a form of offering daily competition under the UIGEA carveout and in compliance with respective state regulations."

Daily Fantasy Sports has also been able to advertise heavily in states where sports betting is not yet regulated (i.e. Florida).  That's not to say DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks haven't advertised heavily in these states either.  But when a DFS site like PrizePicks promote their million dollar a day deal during the NBA Playoffs to those in the Sunshine State, Floridians can actually sign up and win.  PrizePicks is massively successful business at the moment.  Underdog Fantasy we are less familiar with their traffic and customer base. 

As one industry person told us recently during a breakfast gathering, offering his own take on the OSB vs. DFS debate: "PrizePicks is smart.  They're taking advantage of legalized sports betting by getting around the licensing."

MakeItRain had this to say:

"Wait till the states start cracking down on these so called “DFS” platforms who are using loopholes to sneak in more profits."

That train may have already left the station when, on May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court reversed lower court findings, in its ruling that PASPA violated the anti commandeering principle and was therefore unconstitutional.

MakeItRain's point is well taken and the odds of him being right are pretty good.  Witness New York state a few years back with actions taken against DraftKings and FanDuel's DFS platforms. 

That said, the number of US states targeting the likes of a PrizePicks or Underdog Fantasy can be counted on one hand.  They'd be risking harm to their own sports gambling market offerings.  Who is to say a court won't rule that parlays should be prohibited as a result of any legal action taken against a DFS company?  And we know how much DraftKings founder and current CEO loves his parlays.  Player props would most certainly be off limits.

Most states just won't have any interest in pursuing the matter, simply because they don't care one way or another.  Both PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy already stay clear of so-called "grey area" states.

The biggest concern for DFS players should be whether a sports betting company were to acquire PrizePicks or Underdog Fantasy. Witness how Bally's destroyed Monkey Knife Fight.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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