It’s been an eventful couple of years for daily fantasy sports (DFS) and the sports betting industry with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) being repealed, leading to 17 states and counting legalizing sports betting, most recent being North Carolina. In turn FantasyDraft, also headquartered in North Carolina, has positioned itself to be a major disruptive force in the industry in 2019 and beyond with the roll-out of a completely new approach for Daily Fantasy Sports and online gaming as a whole, a subscription-based, 100 percent rake-free platform.
We sat down and had a candid conversation with the FantasyDraft CEO, Steve Krombolz, to talk about the company’s upcoming plans, and the direction of the industry as a whole. Here’s what he had to say.
Card Player: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today. It’s been quite an eventful 18 months for DFS and sports-betting in general.
Steve Krombolz: To say the least! With the advent of legalized sports betting throughout the country, millions more fans are engaging on a much deeper level with the sports and the players they love. This, of course, is good for all sports-related businesses including Daily Fantasy Sports, and we intend to capitalize on that.
CP: How specifically do you intend to capitalize on the increased interest in sports, as it relates to DFS?
SK: We spend a lot of time analyzing the market to identify what our customers want, and it’s very apparent that the number one area of frustration from avid players is ever-increasing rake. As the industry has matured, rake has continued to increase. This has created an environment where only the very best players can generate a profit over time. Most DFS players don’t realize it, but over time they’ll lose around 30 percent of their bankroll to rake. That’s good for DFS operators, but bad for consumers. So we asked ourselves how can we capitalize on this and disrupt the marketplace, while also putting out a product that is good for the DFS community. Where we landed is a membership-based, rake-free daily fantasy platform — which we soft-launched in late July.
CP: Rake-Free is certainly something our readers will be excited about. For those that may not know, can you explain how rake works in Daily Fantasy?
SK: Sure. Currently DFS sites keep 5, 10, or even 15 percent plus of each dollar paid in entry fees as rake. Rake is the operator’s revenue. Since rake is withheld and goes to the house, it is therefore withheld from prize pools and not paid out as contest winnings. As I mentioned earlier, over time players will lose in the area of 30 percent of their bankroll to rake, since all entry fees are raked. The good news is that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. You can now play rake-free on FantasyDraft where 100 percent of entry fees are paid out to winners. This is a game changer; your bankroll is going to love it!
CP: That sounds like a win for DFS players. You mentioned memberships – how can players access your rake-free contests?
SK: Great question, the good news is anyone can play rake-free on FantasyDraft! As you mentioned, the only requirement is that you be a member. FantasyDraft offers memberships suitable to all levels of players, from our free PlayersFirst plan that allows up to $100 in entry fees per month to our $5.99 Starter plan with a $1,000 entry fee limit. We also have plans that allow $10K, $25K and unlimited entry fees for more avid players. For a limited time, we are also offering Card Player readers a 7-Day free trial on our Starter plan! So you can play up to $1K in entry fees and give rake-free a try free of charge.
CP: So you can play rake-free on FantasyDraft, with no monthly membership fee?
SK: Yes, we thought it was very important that we had something for everyone and that includes casual players. We didn’t want to add a barrier to entry for users who aren’t interested in paying a monthly membership fee. This is why we made our PlayersFirst plan, which allows up to $100 in entry fees each month with no membership fee. We also thought a trial offer was important for Card Player readers who play more regularly, thus our seven-day free trial offer on the Starter plan which allows up to $1,000 in entries.
CP: This certainly sounds disruptive. To your knowledge has it ever been done before in Daily Fantasy or online gaming before?
SK: No, it hasn’t been done before. FantasyDraft is the first and only company to offer rake-free contests on a subscription model. We believe this hits the trifecta – it’s disruptive, provides for a sustainable business model, and addresses a need in the marketplace.
CP: It feels like the timing is right. Speaking of which, with the season right around the corner, what are FantasyDraft’s plans for the upcoming NFL season?
SK: We are planning for a huge NFL season, kicking it off week 1 with what will be the largest rake-free GPP offered in the history of daily fantasy – our $1 million Hooters Kickoff contest. To help kick off the season and help users test our rake-free platform we will be running a number of freerolls during the preseason.
That’s just part of what will be a huge offering this NFL season. Combine that with all contests being rake-free, and it will be hard to pass up playing with FantasyDraft. Our members are learning very quickly that rake-free means more money in their pockets, and the word is spreading.
CP: We’re happy to hear about the rollout of rake-free daily fantasy and appreciate your time today. Best of luck. We can’t wait to see how this takes off.
SK: Thanks for having me. Watch out for the rake-free revolution, it’s coming!