There’s a convincing argument to be made that at one critical juncture approximately two years ago, the long-term survival of the daily fantasy sports industry was heavily dependent on its ability to differentiate itself from conventional gambling.
DFS has progressively succeeded in that quest over time, leading to legalization in nearly 20 states.. However, within the space, an additional challenge has befallen operators seeking to make inroads at a level somewhere below juggernauts DraftKings and FanDuel – surviving long enough to set themselves apart.
For some, that’s meant taking the road less traveled in terms of contest offerings. A few have even unabashedly gravitated to formats that incorporate sports betting components, while still remaining within legal guidelines.
Boom Fantasy is certainly trying to find another path to attracting DFS customers.
New York-based Boom Fantasy came on the scene in 2016 as one such entity. At the onset, Boom’s prediction-based platform includes some game types that utilized a real-time format. One of the company’s early calling cards, these contests asked participants to answer questions regarding a wide variety of intra-game scenarios, such as whether an NBA team’s next possession would result in a three-pointer or turnover, or what the outcome of an NFL team’s next drive would be.
The real-time element of the contests enabled participants to remain engaged in a sporting event on a play-by-play basis. This was in stark contrast to traditional salary cap-based DFS, where users select a lineup before the opening kickoff, first pitch or tip, and then passively watch the results unfold.
Boom did away with its real-time contests some time ago. However, the overall format of their current offerings – which consists of participants making predictions on athletes’ potential performance prior to the start of a game — remains undeniably reminiscent of traditional prop betting to many.
Take the way players accumulate points for a correct answer. The amount is dependent on Boom’s own in-house player props; “riskier” selections — such as picking Nick Foles to outproduce Tom Brady in passing yards in Super Bowl LII – would reward the player with double the points, for example.
Jackpot series provides new dimension
One of Boom’s newest and most lucrative game types adds yet another element that those who enjoy various forms of traditional gambling activity will be familiar with.
Boom’s Jackpot series features a basic format that mirrors that of its other contests – participants answer a series of questions about potential individual player performances for a given slate of games. For example, they may have to determine which athlete from a preselected group might perform the best in a specific statistical category, or make a prediction on an NBA player’s exact scoring total, for example.
The differentiation comes in the payout method. Some of the Jackpot contests build their prize pool progressively, with the sum exponentially increasing each day that goes by without a winner. This mirrors the practice of casinos that offer the same type of jackpot on certain slot and video poker machines within their establishments and online platforms.
Single-digit entry fees, six- and seven-figure payouts
The primary appeal of Boom’s Jackpot games comes from the always alluring combination of a low buy-in and potentially astronomical payday. For example, Boom’s current Jackpot offerings include a million-dollar contest that offers the opportunity to parlay $4 into a fixed prize amount of $1 million.
As anyone who’s attempted to win a sizable sum of money in a large-field, salary cap-based DFS contest can attest, the combination of a notably larger investment, typically top-heavy payout structure and less-than-ideal odds can significantly temper expectations, to say the least.
Conversely, Boom’s Million Dollar Jackpot’s eight-question (for NFL and NCAA) or nine-question (for NBA) format is not so extensive as to create a perception of seemingly insurmountable odds. It isn’t a stretch to think that one can run the table, so to speak, on a given night and subsequently watch their bankroll swell to seven figures.
There’s plenty players can win at slightly lower buy-ins as well. A $100,000 Jackpot contest currently running for NBA has a $3 point of entry. It’s not an all-or-nothing payout structure in the aforementioned pair of contests either. For example, those answering up to five questions correctly in any sport in the Million Dollar Jackpot will still realize a minimum cash. There are successively larger payouts for each additional correct answer up to one short of the maximum as well.
Meanwhile, the pair of current progressive payout contests set users back either $1 or $2.
Already positioned for advent of legalized sports betting?
Once more or less an outlier in the industry, Boom has gone on to carve out a sizable enough niche with its DFS/prop betting hybrid to offer considerably lucrative payouts. Its proprietary format — one that already clearly appeals to DFS enthusiasts and traditional sports bettors alike — could ultimately give it a proverbial running start in a future national legalized sports betting environment.
Such a scenario seems likely. A few dominos have undeniably fallen in that regard in recent months, lending significant credence to the notion:
- By all accounts, December oral arguments in Christie vs. NCAA in the US Supreme Court appeared to go decidedly in favor of New Jersey, which is trying to legalize sports wagering..
- Four states – Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Mississippi – have already passed laws that move those states closer to offering sports betting if federal law eventually allows it. A multitude of others are considering sports betting legislation as well.
- Both the NBA and MLB reportedly lobbied to have a tax called an “integrity fee” — payable to the pro sports leagues — added to a bill being deliberated in Indiana that seeks to legalize sports betting. The insertion of language into the bill regarding the fee – to be calculated as one percent of the total amount wagered on each league’s games – is seen as a sign of two of the biggest professional sports entities in the U.S. preparing for the inevitable.