DraftKings Championship: Win $1,000,000 And Push The Legal Envelope

Written By Bart Shirley on October 8, 2018

The DraftKings Sportsbook is now live in New Jersey. Visit the DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app here for full details.

Daily fantasy sports and sports betting titan DraftKings is offering players throughout the US the chance at $1,000,000 in January 2019. The DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship will bring several lucky contestants to New Jersey to hash out a three-day sports betting frenzy.

How the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship works

Players who win entry to the championship will receive $5,000 in their sports betting accounts to use during the weekend. The players will compete with each other on a special leaderboard made for that weekend.

The players with the largest bankrolls at the end of the weekend will receive cash prizes. The prize schedule is as follows:

  • 1st place – $1,000,000
  • 2nd place – $350,000
  • 3rd place – $250,000
  • 4th place – $175,000
  • 5th place – $100,000
  • 6th – 7th place – $75,000
  • 8th – 10th place – $50,000
  • 11th – 15th place – $25,000
  • 16th – 25th place – $15,000

The championship will pay out at least $2,500,000 in prize money. The contest will occur from Jan. 11 through Jan. 13, which coincides with the NFL Divisional Playoff round.

In order to gain entry, players can either play their way in through special DFS contests onsite or buy directly into the championship. DFS players could potentially get a ticket for as little as $0.10, although a direct buy-in costs $10,000.

Players must wager at least $1,000 on Friday and Saturday, and at least $2,000 on Sunday. Wagering on Sunday also needs to occur on the NFL games in order to maintain eligibility for the leaderboard prizes. However, players who do not meet the requirements will get to keep the remainder of their bankrolls.

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The qualifier structure may draw the wrong attention

There’s no denying that a chance at a $1 million payday is enticing. However, the manner that players use to get to the championship may create some unnecessary legal concerns in the process.

One of the selling points about daily fantasy sports has long been that it is definitively not gambling. There have even been academic studies that tend to support the idea of DFS as a game of skill.

Sports betting, on the other hand, is definitively gambling. Even with the application of proper skill, losses can and will occur.

With this contest, players are now going to use DFS to enter a sports betting contest. The conflation of the two concepts is precisely what the industry doesn’t need right now.

If the Congressional hearing two weeks ago proved anything, it’s that sports betting still garners a healthy dose of suspicion from both lobbyists and lawmakers. DFS, on the other hand, has mostly slipped by state and federal governments’ collective attention.

In fact, at present, only nine states disallow daily fantasy sports. DFS operates freely in most parts of the country, including in places where resistance to other gambling is quite strong.

The worst thing for the industry to do would be to flaunt itself and make lawmakers feel like saps. In many cases, it would not be difficult for legislators to pass a new law or reinterpret an existing one.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a senior evergreen content writer for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

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