Patterns of Daily Fantasy Sport Play: Tackling the Issues

  • Sarah E. Nelson
  • Timothy C. Edson
  • Pradeep Singh
  • Matthew Tom
  • Ryan J. Martin
  • Debi A. LaPlante
  • Heather M. Gray
  • Howard J. Shaffer
Original Paper


Daily fantasy sports (DFS), a rapidly growing industry, allows players to create fantasy teams of real-life players and potentially win cash prizes, derived from entry fees. Some stakeholders have expressed concern that DFS’s accelerated nature and other features might promote excessive play and related harm. We conducted the first descriptive summary of actual DFS play using records from a cohort of subscribers to a dominant operator, DraftKings. Participants (N = 10,385) initially entered paid National Football League (NFL) contests. Across all participants, players entered a median of two contests per entry day and typically submitted a single entry for each contest they entered. Players paid a median of $87 in entry fees throughout the 2014 NFL season and experienced an overall median net loss of $30.7. However, we identified heavily involved sub-groups of players based on number of contests entered, total entry fees, and net loss. These top 1% groups were less likely to restrict themselves to NFL games, exhibited greater time involvement, but also won a greater percentage of the contests they entered than typical players. Our observations of typical and heavily involved players tend to mirror those generated in previous Internet sports gambling research.


Gaming Fantasy sports Gambling Sports 



A project of this magnitude requires the support and involvement of many. The authors extend special thanks to Greg Karamitis, Robert McGeehan, and Jacob Sachs for responding swiftly and thoroughly to our data requests, and to Tasha Chandler, Vanessa Graham, Pat Williams, Rhiannon Wiley, Alec Conte, John Kleschinsky, and Scarvel Harris, for providing support for this project.

Author Contributions

All authors contributed to the concept and design of this study and the writing of this manuscript. Drs. Edson, Singh, and Tom contributed to the analyses, had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. All authors have approved the final article.


DraftKings provided primary support for this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors also receive funding from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations via NIH and Indian Health Services (IHS), the Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, which receives funding from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division on AddictionCambridge Health AllianceMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.East Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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