Upset you are not in one of the several new states offering sports betting? Draft Kings has a solution, at least for Week 1 of NFL action. The daily fantasy sports site is holding a pick’em contest that is free to enter and has $1 million in prizes up for grabs. The game is open to most people in the United States.
To grab a share of the million, players must select the winners of the 15 football games on Sept. 9 and 10. Any player who chooses more than half the games correctly will win a piece of the prize.
Each correct game pick is worth 100 points. Here’s how the prize breakdown looks:
- 1,500 points (all games correctly chosen): Split $300,000
- 1,400 points: Split $200,000
- 1,300 points: Split $150,000
- 1,100 – 1200 points: Split $200,000
- 800 – 1000 points: Split $150,000
Obviously, it pays to pick wisely. Players who correctly select all 15 games will likely receive a large payout since few players will be there to split the prize.
If any tier has no winners, the prize pool will distribute evenly to the lower tiers. So, for instance, if no player scores 1,300 points, the 1,100 – 1,200 and 800 – 1,000 tiers would receive an extra $75,000 each.
DraftKings is just getting warmed up on giving away free money
Players who compete in the Week 1 giveaway will also earn points toward the Team Pick’Em Challenge. This new promotion will run for the entire NFL season.
During each week, players will win points based upon how well they select the winners of NFL games. Players can also gain extra points during the week by completing various challenges throughout the week.
So, there will be both Pick Points and Weekly Bonus Points available for players to accumulate. Obviously, the player with the highest point total by the Dec. 30 end of the season will win.
That lucky bettor will score an extra $10,000 in cash. Other players who didn’t quite make it may also find themselves richer. Here’s the breakdown for the Pick’Em Challenge prizes:
- 1st: $10,000
- 2nd: $5,000
- 3rd: $2,500
- 4th: $2,000
- 5th: $1,500
- 6th: $1,250
- 7th: $1,000
- 8th-9th: $750
- 10th-14th: $500
- 15th-24th: $400
- 25th-39th: $300
- 40th-59th: $250
- 60th-89th: $200
- 90th-134th: $150
- 135th-194th: $125
- 195th-274th: $100
- 275th-294th: $75
- 395th-544th: $60
- 545th-744th: $40
- 745th-994th: $20
When the contest ends, 275 people will receive $100 or more, simply by virtue of playing each week. Seven lucky fans will earn over $1,000 for their efforts. Considering that entry is initially risk-free, it’s a bit silly to decline a spot.
DraftKings DFS is looking more like gambling every day
This promotion is evidence that DraftKings is not complacent about its bread-and-butter, DFS. The site continues to innovate on that side of things, both with this series and with its new in-game format, Flash Draft.
However, the innovations are blurring the line between DFS and pure sports betting. In-game play is straight from sports betting, where bettors wager on point totals or propositions in individual quarters or halves of a contest. Playing shortened DFS sessions isn’t quite the same, but it’s tiptoeing closer to it.
Similarly, this promotion is a leaderboard-style scheme that is more often found on online casino websites. Although there is an element of skill, players who exhibit luck and the determination to keep betting will likely find themselves nearer the top of the table.
Now, this mingling of format isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering the spread of legal sports betting in the US. However, DFS is still more widespread than the newly-authorized practice, so DraftKings would do well to exercise caution with these kinds of innovations.