Daily Fantasy Sports in Colorado
Online daily fantasy sports contests are legal and regulated in Colorado. In many states, these games exist in a legal gray area. Colorado made them legal in 2016, when Act 1404 became law.
You can access sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings, and pick lineups of players to compete with others from around the country. Real money is at stake in head-to-head matches, bigger tournaments and other entertaining DFS variations.
This page gives you an overview of the daily fantasy sports sites available in Colorado. The types of contest, how to pick your lineup and how to fund your DFS accounts are covered below. With full sports betting now available in the Centennial State, the effects of this on the DFS games will also be discussed.
Are daily fantasy sports contests legal in Colorado?
This bill set up a process for licensing and taxing the bigger DFS sites. Smaller sites (with fewer than 7,500 users) are only required to register.
Rules are set out in this bill to protect players from Colorado. These include provisions to make the sites responsible for securing data that could affect the outcome of the contests. There are also rules to segregate player funds and introduce responsible gambling measures.
Anyone over the age of 18 can legally enter real money daily fantasy sports contests in Colorado.
More recently, gambling in Colorado was expanded to include both retail and online sportsbooks. Bill 1327 allows wagers on pro and college sports — as well as international sporting events. Two of the major DFS sites (DraftKings and FanDuel) will offer full sports betting in Colorado.
Overview: How online DFS contests work
If you ever enjoyed a fantasy sports contest in your office or among friends, then the format for DFS contests will be familiar. Like the season-long contests, you pick lineups (or “rosters”) of players, with a salary cap stopping you from picking only the superstars.
Online DFS contests are much shorter, often a single day or a single weekend of matches.
Having created one or more lineups, you can enter these into different types of contests. These are outlined below. The main distinction is between tournaments (many lineups competing) and cash games (a small number, from head-to-heads). If your lineups beat the competition when the matches are over, you’ll win real money.
You’ll be competing with lineups created by players from all around the country, not just in Colorado. Keep in mind that there are expert players out there (even DFS contest pros). It is possible to select the maximum number of contests against a single opponent at the major sites.
Major sports are covered by the DFS sites. These include football, baseball, basketball and hockey. You can also enter contests based on soccer or esports.
Cash games, tournaments and more: Types of DFS contests
You can pick as many rosters as you like at daily fantasy sports sites. These can be completely different, or variations around a core group of players you think will do well.
Once you have your lineups nailed, it is time to enter some contests. Here are the main options:
- DFS cash games: Smaller contests, where two to four players compete to have the best lineup, are the most popular games at all the sites. Buy-ins start low, and the winner will take the pot (minus the fee charged by the sites). You are welcome to enter the same lineup into multiple contests. You can also change your lineups each time. If you want to avoid the “pros” (who often enter hundreds of lineups in cash games), then you can limit the number of contests played against the same opponent.
- DFS tournaments: This format sees potentially thousands of players entering lineups into a contest. The top 10% or so of the field win prizes — with the biggest share going to the winner and runners up. Some tournaments have guaranteed prize pools. This means that the sites will pay the advertised amount in prizes even if the number of entries does not reach this total. There are many variations within the tournament format. Some pay exactly half the field double their buy-in, others are satellite qualifiers into big money guaranteed prize pool tournaments.
Another way to enjoy the DFS sites is to set up private tournaments or leagues. These mimic the old season-long contests played in offices around the country. Private contests can be all season long, or they can be for a single match. You can also set up a public contest, setting out the sport, rules and duration.
Colorado daily fantasy sports sites
Two DFS sites dominate this area — with more than 90% market share between them. They are the popular DraftKings and FanDuel. They work in broadly similar ways, although they approach the mix of contests differently:
DraftKings is the single biggest DFS site. It was formed in 2012, welcoming players from Colorado four years before the contest officially became legal. This site features beginner-only contests. These are a great way of enjoying the games before you go head-to-head with the pros. A wide range of sports are covered, including:
Interesting variations on the usual tournament and cash game themes include “Steps.” These games allow you to win your way up a ladder of bigger and bigger buy-in tournaments. DraftKings have released sports betting apps in other regulated states — and is expected to do the same in Colorado.
This was the first major DFS site in Colorado. FanDuel started in 2009. This site covers the following sports — note that esports are not available at FanDuel.
- Soccer (international leagues are limited compared to DraftKings)
FanDuel is now owned by Flutter (which used to be known as Paddy Power Betfair). Flutter is a huge international gambling corporation — with the resources to take this brand from a DFS-only site into a full sports betting powerhouse in Colorado.
There are other websites offering DFS contests. These are small compared to DraftKings and FanDuel, which control 90% of the market. Other brands include Yahoo Sports, Monkey Knife Fight and Prize Picks.
Bonuses at DFS sites in Colorado
With the full contingent of Colorado sports betting sites, competition is fierce among the brands. When it comes to daily fantasy sports, there are only two main sites — and most people will end up trying out both. This means that the sites don’t need to offer big bonus deals to attract players.
Enjoying a DFS site bonus at DraftKings or FanDuel will not prevent you from taking the full sportsbook bonuses when they launch. You’ll enjoy $25 in free contest entries when you deposit at DraftKings, and a free $5 entry at FanDuel.
There are also loyalty schemes in place, and regular promotions at both sites. Look out for chances to enter qualifier contests for the biggest tournaments. The start of the seasons for major leagues makes a great time to check for this kind of deal.
Money management: Getting your funds into DFS sites
When full mobile sports betting comes to Colorado, there will be a lot of new ways to fund your betting account. Nationally, the DFS sites have limited deposits and withdrawals to credit cards or PayPal. You’ll deposit with a credit card as if you were making any online purchase. This is safe and secure with the bigger brands.
Possible additions to these DFS site deposit methods when regulation of online sportsbooks begins include the following: ACH (echeck) transfers, prepaid cards, PayNearMe, Skrill, Neteller, BillPay, bank wires and money orders. Whether you’ll be able to transfer funds between your sports betting and DFS accounts inside the apps remains to be seen.
Strategy for new players entering DFS contests
If you are new to daily fantasy sports contests, then you’ll need to quickly learn that knowledge of the players (while important for choosing lineups) is not sufficient to win you money over time. Some of the most important factors are separate from your knowledge of the sports.
You’ll need to learn to avoid the pros. There are many players who have become skilled in picking lineups — and who enter hundreds of contests every week — making a living from the games. Taking advantage of limits to how many contests you enter against each opponent can help you avoid the sharks.
When it comes to picking lineups, making use of your salary cap is key. Salary is not always a direct reflection of a player’s form. As a rule of thumb, if you are regularly leaving a “salary gap,” you’ll find it harder to win consistently. Remember, you can create several variations of your lineups, entering these separately.
Beginner contests will naturally feature less experienced players. You’ll only have a limited time to enter these — making them worth taking advantage of. If you are setting up contests, leagues or tournaments of your own, make them private to start with — inviting only your friends or colleagues. This prevents the experts from joining your amateur league.
Finally, you’ll need to manage your DFS contest bankroll. This means not gambling too much on any one tournament or cash game. By spreading your entries (again, with multiple lineups) you can reduce the swings of fortune, and with some skilled picks, see your bankroll grow.
Wrapping up: DFS contests in Colorado
With full sports betting now legal in Colorado, it will be interesting to see the effects on the daily fantasy sports sites. Brands including DraftKings and FanDuel have been legal in the Centennial State since 2016 — and were actively offering games to CO residents for many years before that.
Both major brands offer picks style contests for a range of major sports. You can pick lineups of players, then enter them into cash games, tournaments and entertaining contest variations. To win money over time, you’ll need to avoid the pros and manage your bankroll — as well as develop skills in picking winning lineups. Bonuses and loyalty promotions offered by the big DFS brands will help you with this.
DFS sites also provide a platform for your private contests or leagues — replicating the old pen and paper fantasy sports years among friends or colleagues.