Draftkings promos we want to see beyond daily fantasy sports and sports betting

  • With its sports betting app, DraftKings gives new users a $100 credit with a deposit of $25 or more.
  • One promotion I want to see is for DraftKings to offer a 50% deposit bonus on up to $500.
  • Another DFS site would be to get your money back on any Millionaire Maker if it doesn’t surface.
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We are in the golden age of online gaming promotions in the US. And DraftKings has certainly played a large role in pushing the envelope as to what is considered reasonable when enticing gamblers and daily fantasy sports (DFS) players to their sites.

Before 2018, welcome bonuses for both sportsbooks and online casinos rarely extended much beyond a 100% match on your first deposit. And often, that was just for the first deposit. Not anymore.

I’ve put together a short list of promos I’d like to see DraftKings roll out to remain competitive on the promo front.

Restart DK Gold Rush for DFS

The original gold rush lasted from March through June of 2020. The gist of the promo was that anyone who entered at least one single-entry contest in a given day had the opportunity to win a share of $1 million prize pools.

A select few even won their entire entry fee back each week. DFS is notorious for its highly variable juice schedule. Fees can range from a mere 3.56% all the up to a whopping 18%. Plus, it’s not unheard of to pay close to 25% to play certain high-bankroll tournaments.

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So, any means of combating egregious fees is a good thing. My hope is that they bring this promo back with a twist. Namely, I’d love to see DraftKings credit gold rush winner’s accounts with real money rather than restricted funds. Restricted funds are great, but there’s nothing like having the freedom to play whatever you’d like without penalty.

Another thought here is opening this perk up to FanDuel as well. I know DFS players who strictly play on one site or the other. Allowing them to earn this benefit regardless of which site they play on a given day seems like a small concession that would be met with open arms by many.

Speaking of arms . . . They should be washed regularly in light of the current global pandemic. If you don’t know how, the CDC has some excellent resources. Now, back to the gambling content you came for.

Please, No More DK Labs

I’m not going to a lab. Even if DraftKings promises monkey-themed contests.

I like the general idea behind DK Labs. Specifically, testing out new game types before their official release. However, the games currently featured lack polish and simply aren’t much fun to play. I shouldn’t have to wait 4+ seconds between clicking “confirm bet” and seeing that the same bet repeated 100 times. Much like a bad kid at a wedding, I’m simply not engaged.

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If DraftKing wants me to test games for free, I’d prefer it if they were close to final products. Further, I think it would be far more appealing to the DFS crowd if they created DFS-oriented game types. Specifically, something along the lines of a traditional snake draft within DK Labs.

DraftKings could seed a mini with premium players at each position, and then have users make their selections in a timed fashion. Then again, maybe I’m completely off base. Perhaps the goal is to populate highlight reels by getting people to play Blokus.

Who has the time and/or inclination to play this?

Bring Back Snake Drafts for DFS

This isn’t necessarily a promo, but rather a feature I’d like to see DraftKings add. As the football and basketball seasons draw nearer, there will once again be a spike in interest in Hold’em and Omaha. Particularly among those who have zero interest in sporting events involving balls.

The COVID-19 shutdowns caused both sites to lean into hosting poker tournaments with massive prize pools built around ice-cold monster prizes for getting perfect NFL and NBA lineups. Both sites leaned heavily into draft league styles for these tournaments, where users made selections in a snake format over the course of several weeks.

PokerStars got creative with their NFL promos last year.

The NFL contests maxxed out at 108 participants, while the NBA version topped out at a cool 120. Each paid out $1 million to first place, with $300,000 set aside for second. The NFL event cost $1,500, while the NBA tournament set players back $1,000 for a chance to play.

Given DFS’s roots, it would seem like a no-brainer to host private and public snake drafts for various skill levels. It would be an awesome way for me to gauge my NFL knowledge against fellow players — all without having to suit up in pads.

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Sure, I might not come away with a rolled-up football to the head from a misbehaving running back, but where’s the fun in getting hit every Sunday? I’d take the reduced concussion risk and the ability to win cash based on my scoring squad anytime.

A World Series of Amateur DFS Players

Every summer, golf fans are treated to the US Amateur and US Open. The former showcases the best amateur (non-professional) golfers in the world, while the latter invites both amateur and pro golfers to compete for glory. Why can’t DraftKings host the World Series of Amateur DFS Players?

Qualification: Through various satellite contests where users go medalist-style low to qualify for the big dance. This keeps the cost down for those wanting to attempt to qualify while also giving those who simply want to play without qualifying an avenue to do so.

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Format: A four-round, stroke-play event modeled after the majors in golf. Each round will feature a different sport in season. Round 1 – NFL; Round 2 – NBA; Round 3 – MLB; Final Round – NHL. Each player will pick one entry per day across all rounds. Ties will be resolved via head-to-head record (who went undefeated against whom), then head-to-head score average, and finally a one-game playoff using the same lineups used during the main event.

Scoring: Each player will be limited to a bankroll of $50 for every contest they play leading up to — and including — the World Series event. Users will be required to post their bankroll on social media to help build hype and provide transparency.

Bankroll management will be a key component to success, especially considering the varying costs of entry per day/week/month depending on the sport. Those who enter baseball will get access to cheap 50-person double-UPs (costing $0.50) while basketball and football players will need to navigate higher-priced options.

There will be one caveat here, however. Given the cost of entry for baseball is low regardless of whether you are playing a 50-person or a 5000-person contest, I’d allow users to enter up to five times per week. This will force users to balance qualifying for the main event with ensuring they have enough coin to play the other two rounds.

All entries must be within either 50-person or GPP-style contests. Head-to-heads and 50/50s will not be allowed. This will prevent users from trying to qualify by playing expensive, low-return-on-investment (ROI) head-to-head fights or cheap 50/50s where they can repeatedly reload when busted.

Prizes: In addition to bragging rights, the winner will receive $1,000,000 guaranteed based on their bankroll. That means if you qualified with $50, you’ll have a million dollars tied to your account. DraftKings could release the funds slowly over the course of a year, monthly or quarterly, or allow the user to lump sum it — I’m sure they will require some tax withholding if it’s done that way. Either way, this creates an amazing story and will generate tons of positive press for DraftKings.

Why it matters: The vast majority of DFS players are amateurs who play for enjoyment. Many are casual fans of sports seeking to enhance their enjoyment of the sport and maybe even win a bit of cash while doing so. Very few people can beat DFS in the long run. Sure, there are folks like Dolan Nolan, who has posted incredible ROI numbers over his career, but he is the exception and not the rule. High costs of entry and swings from huge winners to even bigger losers can lead to experiences better described as heart-stopping instead of fun.

By capping entries at the rate of $50, it levels the playing field. Someone who goes 40-for-40 and drops their entire $200 bankroll will win the same $1 million as someone who spent $40 and also went undefeated. This encourages smart play and eliminates the risk of ruining the experience for users due to the high variance that comes with DFS.

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Further, the satellite system allows those with modest bankrolls to attempt to qualify while also allowing those who wish to skip qualifying and simply pay their way in. Limiting baseball entrants to five should ensure we don’t see a ton of juice in the Millionaire Maker, which routinely features upwards of $4-$5 of juice. In turn, this should ensure a large and deep prize pool for football and basketball.

And if you think people wouldn’t try to collude to qualify, think again. Cheaters never prosper.

A Bonus for Losing ‘Millionaire Makers’ in DFS

I grind DFS during the football season and have been playing since 2013. I’ve yet to play in a single Millionaire Maker that offered a seven-figure prize pool. Granted, it’s Sundays I tend to struggle with more than others due to work the next morning, but still — it’s frustrating.

Golf is a different story. I’ve hit multiple Millionaire Makers in golf, although none have come since they increased the price of entry and the juice. Still, I’d like my money back for any Millionaire Maker that fails to offer seven figures.

Yes, DFS sites don’t control the prize pools for their Millionaire Makers. The amount of juice extracted determines the size of the prize pool. But FanDuel and DraftKings are easily the most popular sites. If the juice isn’t extracted on either site, it’s unlikely you will see that much juice on any alternate site.

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As it stands right now, neither DraftKings nor FanDuel offer any sort of refund if a Millionaire Maker fails to meet seven-figure status. Sure, they may offer some smaller consolation prize. But that doesn’t help someone who wanted to win life-changing money.

Life-changing for DFS players looks very different than it does for sports bettors and casino gamblers.

Even if only a handful of people received their entry fees back because the Millionaire Maker failed to reach seven figures, it would be a tremendous selling point for DraftKings.

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Like many states, Michigan and Virginia recently legalized online casino gaming. According to recent reports, more states are expected to join the party in the coming years.

Online casino welcome bonuses look very different than those found within the sportsbook or DFS realms. Specifically, most welcome bonuses are tied to how much money a player deposits, rather than their first deposit being eligible for a bonus.

For example, both BetMGM and Borgata offer new users a 100% deposit bonus on up to $1,000. That means if you deposit $1,000, you’ll have $2,000 with which to play. There is a catch, though. You need to play through your bonus 20 times before it becomes available as withdrawable cash.

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I’d like to see DraftKings give new users $50 just for downloading the app and creating an account. Then another $50 for depositing at least $25. Finally, another $100 for betting at least $400 within the first 30 days. To encourage users to play the casino, they could offer an additional $25 for each $400 wagered within the first month (up to a maximum of $250).

Players would need to playthrough the bonus 10X before it became available to withdraw, which is in line with industry standards.

Why it matters: While DFS and sports betting are fantastic products, they are not year-round propositions. Adding a robust casino product increases customer engagement and loyalty. Offering a strong welcome bonus will help accelerate that process.

Also, unlike sports betting and DFS, casinos are a negative expectancy game. You can find games with positive expectations, but for the most part, casinos make money because they are designed to take more money in fees over time than what they payout on wins. Thus, they need more time between deposit and withdrawal to give the house a shot at your money.

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Compared to a year-long commitment necessary to drain your bankroll doing absolutely nothing but chasing deals, a one-year playthrough is incredibly generous for casinos.

Raised Payouts for Monday Night Football

NFL bettors know that there is no line better than the one set for Monday Night Football. While many factors contribute to this reality, perhaps the biggest reason is the absurd volume of tickets most books take on the most popular game of the week.

To give you an idea of the disparity, I checked the total on the Buccaneers vs. Rams game at several sportsbooks immediately following the end of the early slate of games on Sunday. Here are the results.

As you can see, DraftKings took nearly eight times as many tickets as BetMGM, and their total reflected that difference. Sharps will play against the public any day of the week, as public bettors are consistently exploitable due to their emotional attachment to teams rather than the numbers.

Why it matters: Bettors will take their action wherever they can find it. But offering industry-leading payouts on Monday night totals will help DraftKings claim market share. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool.

Once the sports betting world knows that DraftKings offers a half-point on side and totals for Monday Night Football, more bettors will flock to their sportsbook. The added exposure would more than offset the dime or better given away on a weekly basis.

A Raise for DraftKings’ NBA Point Spreads

My local grocery store offers a fantastic reward program for those who carry their card while shopping. Namely, they offer 1% actual cash back on the total of your purchase. Assuming I spent $200 during my trip, I would receive $2 in cash back on my next trip.

Now, let’s say the store decided to double their rewards promotion. Instead of 1% back, they offer 2%. How many of you would be thrilled about that? I know I would. Yet, for some reason, sportsbooks don’t realize the same enthusiasm exists when they move from offering ¼ point on NBA spreads to ½ point.

It may not seem like much, but an additional ¼ point can mean the difference between a push and a loss. Over the course of an NBA season, that adds up. And savvy bettors will certainly notice.

Why it matters: For casual bettors, an extra ¼ point means they are slightly more likely to win. Sharp bettors will notice the added half-point and target the books that haven’t moved from ¼ point to ½ point more frequently. This promotion would set DraftKings’ lines apart from the pack.

A “No Juice” NFL Pool

Switzerland has a great system of government. Their policy of abstention leads to a great deal of compromise and stability. I want the same for football pools. Why can’t everyone just chip in, pool their money, and have the person with the best week get all the cash?

Seriously, how great would it be if a sportsbook offered a no-juice NFL pool? Specifically, a one-week pool where the person with the best 5-pick NFL card of the week pocketed the entire purse less administration fees.

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The winner of a no juice pool would take home all the cash.

Administration fees are necessary to ensure proper payouts in cases where there are multiple people who tie for first. Without these fees, the sportsbook would eat the cost of extra prizes.

Let’s say 10,000 people enter the pool at $25 each. That’s a $250,000 prize pool, less 1% in administrative fees ($2,500) for a total payout of $247,500. If no one hits the perfect 5-0 ticket, the entire amount is paid out to the person or people who go 5-0.

If multiple people finish 5-0, the fees already collected would be split amongst the co-winners to cover their share of first place. Let’s say three people finish 5-0 in our example. They each went 5-0, so they are all entitled to an equal third of the grand prize. Since they each paid $25 to enter, that becomes their ask for first place…$25 x 3 = $75. When you divide $247,500 by 3, that leaves $82,500 for first place. Each of the co-winners would receive $82,500 less their $75 asking price, for a net payout of $67,750 per winner.

You <I> + me + all of us collectively are awesome at finding value in NFL cards on a weekly basis. I feel confident stating the same for casino general manager <he/she/they>.

Put these two brilliant groups of people together, and someone is going to clean up. Not every week, mind you, as variance is a thing. But much like the grocery store reward program above, someone who plays every week increases their chances of winning over the long haul.

Further, this type of pool would generate a ton of buzz and media attention for the sportsbook. Free publicity is always a good thing.

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Why it matters: The vast majority of office NFL pools operate on the honor system. Someone collects the money, writes all the names on a piece of paper, and then creates a NFL Sunday ticket or uses whichever app makes the most sense.

Most companies I have worked for in the past operated on the trust that everyone would enter a single card each week. Some weeks I saw no issues. Other weeks, I saw folks attempting to backdoor their way into a top spot by submitting multiple cards or having someone else submit a card in their name.

Including a termination clause for cheaters would help mitigate the issue. This would state that, should participation be determined as fraudulent, that participant would be ineligible for prizes in that pool and banned from entering future pools of this nature. Two strikes, and they are out.

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One concern I would have as a bettor is ensuring the pool actually pays out. To combat this fear, I’d suggest having an auditor stop by periodically to verify the scores and ensure everything is on the up and up. The auditor could be a shift manager from one of the operator’s retail locations or another employee from the sportsbook. Better yet, send in an external firm to conduct random audits throughout the season.

The operator could even offer a bonus if the perfect card is hit before a specified date. Say the bonus is an extra 10% on top of the regular pool payout. If the pool hits by Week 5, everyone gets an extra 10% on top of their regular winnings. The operator would need to decide if it wants to accept the added risk during weeks deemed more favorable for a perfect ticket, or if they want to cap the bonus at a specific week to eliminate the risk entirely outside of potential shame campaigns if the bonus is triggered.

Imagine if this pool hit each year? We could debate the greatest NFL cards of the year based on the data generated.

Hopefully, you enjoyed my ideas regarding promotions I’d like to see DraftKings offer. What promotions would you like to see? Casino sign-up bonuses based on uploading bankrolls from other sites? No juice pools for all major sports? Higher payouts for baseball and basketball parlays?

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Be sure to check back for further developments regarding DraftKings’ response to BetMGM’s enhanced MLB bonuses. And follow us @GamblingSites01 for all the latest sports betting news and the best promotions available across the industry!


  • BetMGM responded to DraftKings’ MLB promotion.
  • Information provided by Online Poker Report.

Nicholas is a Minnesota native currently living in Boston, Mass. He graduated from Doane College in Crete, Nebraska with a degree in Communications. With a background in radio and television , he is a logical choice to handle all of the podcasting for GamblingSites.com.

In addition, he provides content for the website and enjoys writing about the gambling industry as a whole. When he isn’t talking into a microphone or writing about all things gambling, he enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music, and heading to the casino.