The site has rolled out a slate of single-game contests for the NFL finale, along with a brand-new format which strays far from the traditional.
FanDuel Big Game Bingo
FanDuel’s new contest format trades skill for socialization.
Big Game Bingo is a free game in which users try to complete five squares in a row on a digital DFS card. It’s literally bingo.
Some of the squares are related to the game itself, like scoring plays and penalties. “Challenge Flag” might be the box that finally fills your card. But the contest also includes squares based on TV commercials, the halftime show, and other non-game events. As a DFS player, you might find yourself rooting for “3+ Puppies Ads” or a mention of “Gisele”
FanDuel COO Andy Giancamilli pitched the format in a press release.
“With Big Game Bingo, we took the universally loved game of Bingo and tied it to the complete viewing experience of the biggest game in sports,” he said. “Whether you watch the big game for the football, the halftime show or for the commercials, we’re giving everyone at home the opportunity to participate in the big game — from the most casual to the most diehard sports fan.”
During the Big Game, FanDuel will have a team of folks checking off squares on the back end. The first user(s) to submit a winning card will win or share $25,000 in cash and prizes. You’re supposed to yell, “#FanDuelBingo,” when it happens, but it’s not required in the rules.
The Big Game Bingo contest is sponsored by video game retailer GameStop.
Following the leader with single-game contests
Bingo isn’t the only fantasy game available for the Super Bowl, either. FanDuel is hosting contests for the Super Bowl under its standard salary-cap format.
The day’s headliner is the Big Game Bowl, which requires a buy-in of $9 for a shot at a $2 million prize pool.
Along with Big Game Bingo, these contests represent FanDuel’s first efforts to provide action for the Super Bowl. It’s certainly not a surprise, though.
Most DFS sites will be offering something to tempt their customers on Super Bowl Sunday.
DraftKings Showdown for Pro Bowl, Super Bowl
DraftKings recently announced its own offerings for the Big Game.
The DFS leader rolled out a new Showdown format for the NFL playoffs, and it will be available for the Super Bowl, too. These single-game contests allow users to draft teams of six players — four offensive and two defensive. They’re the first mainstream daily fantasy football contests to incorporate independent defensive players.
The Big Game Fantasy Football Millionaire carries a buy-in of $20 and a $2.4 million prize pool. The winner will earn a million bucks. There are some smaller contests in the lobby, too, totaling more than $4 million in guaranteed money.
If you can’t wait until next Sunday, there’s hefty action available this weekend. DraftKings is running Pro Bowl contests under the Showdown format, with more than $250,000 up for grabs.
What even is DFS anymore?
The daily fantasy sports industry is hardly recognizable these days. Innovation has become a necessity, and there’s no shortage of ideas floating around.
- Operators like Draft have explored alternative ways to address lineup construction.
- Boom Fantasy and FastPick are among those incorporating elements of prop betting into their contests.
- Kiosk-based games are offered by EagleStrike.
- Pari-mutuel contests are available in a lot of states from USFantasy.
- WinView offers in-game prediction contests for real money.
And now there’s bingo, straying even further from the roots of DFS. While some of the newer formats have taken criticism for approximating sports betting, this one mirrors an actual gambling game, albeit one that is free to play.
“It’s not your grandmother’s bingo,” as the press release states. But actually, it might be the first DFS game your grandmother would be interested in playing.
Pushing the boundaries of fantasy
Formats like these test both the definition of DFS and the legality of it under the UIGEA.
That law lays out the conditions for running legal fantasy sports contests. One of the stipulations is that they must be based on ‘multiple real-world sporting or other events.’ The argument is that “events” can be parsed to segments of a game; an NFL game, after all, is broken down into halves and quarters.
In the past, DFS operators have tried to veer far away from controversy, but they’re again getting bolder as time goes on. Many of these new formats test the legal boundaries pretty hard, stepping far into the gray area to find something appealing to the masses.
Compliance with state law seems to be trumping the UIGEA these days, and state-based legislation is generally more permissive for operators.
Bingo gets a pass for being free to play, as paid-entry bingo contests are still (presumably, at least) off the table.