A New Way to Manufacture Spend: Daily Fantasy Sports Leagues

This one is definitely not for everyone and usually requires you to float money (depending on how aggressive you are). But for all you sports lovers – time to get excited!

I’ve been sitting on this manufactured spend technique for a couple of years, debating on whether or not to write about it. I’ve never heard anyone talk about, and I saw it mentioned only once on FlyerTalk before others quickly shot the idea down because of high risk. I can’t even find that thread anymore after a quick search. This technique is done entirely online but is not available in all states.

This will be new and complicated to most people so I’ll explain the background and technique before going into exactly how you should play this game. It’s a long post, so bear with me. This is not an easy technique, but it is a great way to manufacture spend and meet minimum spend requirements or more – especially if you’re a knowledgeable sports fan!

 

What are Daily Fantasy Sports Leagues?

Most of us have heard of fantasy sports. You essentially get a bunch of friends together and do a mock draft of all the players in a particular sports league (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc.). The real stats those players earn while playing are counted in the fantasy league, and essentially whoever ends up with the best performing players at the end of the season wins the fantasy sports league. It can be for money or just for fun.

Daily Fantasy Sports Leagues are a new twist on this: You can draft a new set of players each day, and we have the entire pool of players playing that day available to us. For example, in a head-to-head match-up between you and me, we can each have Kobe Bryant on our teams. You’re given a fictional salary cap ($55K for example) and each player costs a fictional amount ($8K for Kobe Bryant for example) depending on how good their past statistics are. We’re going to use websites like this to deposit and withdraw money. I have full examples at the bottom because I know this is hard to understand right now.

In my opinion, daily fantasy sports is gambling for all intents and purposes. If you have a gambling problem, stop reading this post and call 1-800-522-4700.

The government, however, has decided to call this a “game of skill” and so it is not subject to the same regulations that gambling is. All the websites I will mention have pages explaining why these games are not considered gambling, and most are US-based companies. The super short answer to the question of “Is this legal?” is “Yes, fantasy sports is considered a game of skill and received a specific exemption from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA 2006).” Many articles have been written by reputable newspapers on the subject – just Google it.

Here’s how the games work: the simplest examples are head-to-head match-ups where you can challenge one person and the winner takes home the pot, minus a “rake” that the website collects as a fee for running the service. So for example, you and I each put in $5 (making a $10 pot) and draft our teams separately (we can’t see each other’s teams while drafting). If my team’s players earn more points than yours on that night, then I receive $9 back for a profit of $4. The extra $1 goes to the house/website as the “rake”.

 

The Manufactured Spend Angle

So how can one manufacture spend using websites like these? It just so happens that all of the major websites that offer services like these accept credit cards to load your account. Not only are they fee-free loads, but they usually have a “first time deposit bonus” that can earn you a few hundred extra dollars. There are restrictions to the bonus that I’ll explain later – it’s not just free money like it sounds.

I’ve been using one particular website like this for 2+ years now and it’s my go-to for playing as well. I’ve deposited and withdrawn tens of thousands of dollars using my credit card from this one website alone. Withdrawals are not instant but usually don’t take more than a few days. They can either go to your bank account or to PayPal, among other options, depending on the website.

It’s also worth noting that most of these websites have a money-back guarantee in case you hate the experience.

 

Don’t Deposit and Withdraw Immediately

Hopefully this goes without saying, but depositing and withdrawing immediately is not a smart thing to do with a technique like this. If you want to preserve your account and have the ability to do this long-term, then go very slowly. YOU MUST BE ABLE TO “FLOAT” MONEY FOR A FEW MONTHS. The floating aspect is assuming you want to make sure your account stays open.

Additionally, you MUST play the games. I know…it’s not ideal. When I stumbled upon these websites I was stoked because I was a big fan and was confident in my knowledge of the NHL in particular. I’ve actually made money while doing this. But if you deposit and don’t play before withdrawing, they’ll know something is up. I usually deposit, play about $100-$200 worth of games (win some, lose some), then wait a couple of months and withdraw. Then I wait another few months and make a big deposit again – rinse and repeat.

I know it still doesn’t make much sense right now so I’ll give a step-by-step process below. But first…

 

The Websites

All of the below links are my referral links, and as always I’d appreciate it if you used them if you decide to try this. Most of these referrals only give me a super-small % of your winnings  (if any), but some may also benefit each new user that signs up (for example, we each may get a free entry or something). Each website has a different referral program. My username for all accounts is nhlpepsiguy (yeah, yeah…just don’t ask).

  1. FanDuel – This is my go-to website. You can see under my profile that it’s been over 2 years now since I started using this website (and you can also see my lifetime wins!).
  2. DraftStreet – This is also a well-run website.
  3. DraftKings – This website offers the biggest sign-up bonus – a matching bonus up to $600. It’s not free money like it sounds like – I’ll explain below.
  4. Fan Throwdown – I used this site a lot early but not as much recently. Still a solid option.
  5. DraftDay – My least favorite of the four, but it gets the job done.
  6. Tons of others. Just Google “Daily Fantasy Sports” and get excited!

Feel free to put your own referral links in the comments section.

 

Step 1: How to Deposit Money

This step doesn’t need much explanation, but depositing money is simple. You fill out your information just like you would for any other online purchase. Bonus amounts (if any) will also be listed on this page.

 

DraftKings accepts all credit cards. Other websites are more restrictive.

DraftKings accepts all credit cards. Other websites are more restrictive.

 

The way the bonus is “released” into your account usually requires you to play the game. Each website works a little differently in this regard. Some of them release the bonus when you lose a game, so if you have a $100 bonus pending then it will be released as you lose games. Others release it simply based on the number of games/amounts you play. I won’t try to explain it more here since each website is different, but I highly encourage you to read the details for each website if you go for the bonus.

 

Step 2: Money is Loaded – Time to Play!

As I mentioned, you must play a few times if you want to make sure your account stays open. The bonus you earned from the initial sign-up will hopefully protect you against some losses, but as always, play at your own risk. My recommendation is to play a lot of $1 tournaments. It shows you played a lot and the people playing at the $1 level are usually not as “good” and gives you a better chance of winning.

You can usually filter by sport, type of game (head-to-head, tournament, etc.), and entry amount.

 

All websites have a filter like this.

All websites have a filter like this.

An example of a $1 Tournament.

An example of a $1 Tournament.

 

Once I select my parameters and a particular game, I’m ready to pick my team. I mentioned I play hockey a lot so the above example is of a huge 800+ person $1 tournament.

Each sport has a different way of calculating how your team will earn points, so pay close attention to that when selecting your team! (This assumes you’re actually trying to win)

 

Pay VERY close attention to how games are scored on each website!

Pay VERY close attention to how games are scored on each website – it could change your selection strategy!

 

You’re allowed to pick 2 players at each position (except goalie) in FanDuel’s NHL games. The fictional salary cap is $55K (note that I’m only putting up $1 of actual money for this tournament). Sidney Crosby is regarded as the best hockey player in the world, and you can see his fictional salary is the highest.

 

This is how you pick your team.

This is how you pick your team.

 

Step 3: After Playing – Let Your Account Sit

Hopefully you’ll win more often than lose. If you deposited several thousand dollars, then play at least $50 worth across a lot of games. If you deposited something like $5K, then play a few hundred.  After you think you’ve played enough – let your account sit for 1-2 months (assuming you don’t want to keep playing). This is a very important step.

Also important: if you’re making use of a bonus, make sure you’ve earned the entire bonus. It may look like you only signed up to earn the bonus before withdrawing, which is definitely not allowed. There’s almost always a sign-up bonus on the first deposit, but it’s less likely for future deposits (although there are some bonus promotions every few months).

 

Step 4: Withdraw

Withdrawal is usually pretty easy. I put an image of FanDuel’s withdrawal page below. I haven’t received a 1099, but I don’t think I’ve won over $600 in any year on any one website anyway.

 

FanDuel Withdrawal page.

FanDuel Withdrawal page.

 

Step 5: Wait Another 1-2 Months. Rinse & Repeat.

Just wait a while to make sure the withdrawal goes smoothly. I recommend waiting a few months, but feel free to push the envelope at your own risk.

 

Summary And Other Thoughts

Again – definitely not for everyone.

This one requires some work and requires you to actually play fantasy sports games. The positives are that everything is done online, there are tons of companies that do the same thing, the deposits are fee-free, it has serious staying power, and you have the potential to make some money while also manufacturing spend (if you know what you’re doing). On the other hand you have the very real potential of losing money as well, and if enough people abuse the system then they may introduce a fee to load via credit card. It’s not a way to earn points quickly or in large amounts – it’s more of a long-term, steady solution. Also, while this isn’t exactly gambling according to the government, it’s pretty much the same thing in my opinion.

Be patient and work through it slowly – this could be a really great way to create a lot of points over a one year period. There are tons of websites available that do the same thing, so maybe getting blacklisted on one isn’t such a terrible thing. If you do $3K deposits on 5 different websites every 2-3 months, you’re generating an extra $60-$90K of spending a year. You can accelerate or decelerate that as much as you feel comfortable doing.

If nothing else, then hopefully I’ve informed some expert fantasy sports players out there how to make some extra cash! Just be careful and don’t go overboard.

Seriously though – this is gambling.  If you have a gambling problem, call 1-800-522-4700.

 

I’m curious to know if anyone else uses this technique or if there are any ways to “upgrade” this process to earn even more points. I’m sure I’ll receive some backlash for even suggesting something like this, but hey…I just provide my thoughts. You’re adults – make the right decision for you.

Comments

  1. Couple of thoughts:

    1. Its different from what else is out there, so that is good…

    I tried something similar recently with a poker site, but the payout took 4 months to arrive. I haven’t dug into this one, but is it online gambling (the poker site clearly was) if so then there is the chance that you can lose your money through a lock down, that happened to one of the big sites fairly recently.

    I wonder why they are issuing 1099 MISC forms if it is gambling, it should be a W2-G….

    Not one for me, but I like diversity of ideas, and this scores well in that category.

    • Travel Summary says:

      Payment only takes days to arrive with these websites in my experience. Maybe a bit longer on the first one if verification is needed.

      This definitely isn’t for everyone but it’ll stay around for a long time and is great for some people as supplemental manufactured spend.

  2. I appreciate the novelty of this, but think i’ll pass on this one.

  3. Hmmm…interesting. Might actually encourage my husband to spend more time on fantasy for once ;). No, great idea, just not the gambling type. Plus it seems like it could be time consuming when there’s something up for stakes with a win or loss. But for people who already do a lot of fantasy wagers on the side, this is a way better alternative that’s at least still garnering points even if you lose.

    • Travel Summary says:

      I agree – just don’t lose too much! Consider any losses to be the VR-like fees you pay to move around the money!

  4. Nice experiment but not worth the risk and time IMHO. Keep up the good work.

  5. I like the way you think on this, however there is better way and safer way just invest in Kiva.org and you will your money back in a few months.

    • Travel Summary says:

      Kiva is definitely another great option, and has a much lower risk factor. I can’t blame you for preferring that website.

      • While Kiva is a great scam (they advertise 99% repayment rates, but you are only getting that because the poor borrowers – literally and figuratively – are paying 40-60% interest rates to cover the losses of those who inevitably cannot repay such usurious loans). And you can “game” Kiva pretty easily – and can get “instant” payback if you know how to do it (curiously, lots of the big Kiva lenders tend to be FF types, who play all the games – yet piously proclaim what good people they are).

        The only problem is if you deposit any meaningful amount of $ (vs the typical $25 lender on Kiva), you quickly come to Kiva’s attention and they require you email them every time you want to withdraw your $ (which then takes weeks vs almost instant).

        I stopped “lending” to Kiva once I realized how big a scam it was (Kiva buries the info that most borrowers are paying 40-60% interest rates). Instead, I now use sites like Kidisha, that bypass the scumbags, er, local loan sharks, er lenders, that charge huge interest rates to Kiva borrowers. Not unusual for a Kidisha borrower to have 10% “all-in” interest rates or less.

  6. I really love the originality here. As a sports fan this is easy for me to try. Great option for those of us like me that have no VRs around or have to drive a long while to get them. As always, keep up the great work!

    • Travel Summary says:

      Thanks! I’m glad somebody finally commented that they’ll use it haha.I knew there were sports fans out there!

  7. Nurse Traveler says:

    Call me crazy but I don’t see Fantasy Sports as gambling. There is an element of luck but there is also a lot of skill. I’ve been doing Fantasy Sports since the early 90s and have found that the more you pay attention, the better you do. However, I do appreciate the caveats for those that have never played. If they go all in, they could lose pretty easily.

    • Travel Summary says:

      I totally agree that there’s a lot of skill – probably 90% of it in my mind. But that 10% of luck/chance is kind of a big deal also. I play because I feel like I know what I’m doing!

      And yes, I figured there would be a lot of beginners to fantasy sports so I wanted to make sure I laid it out as clearly as possible and with all the appropriate warnings!

  8. Is there anyway to setup your own group? Kind of like normal fantasy leagues. That way I could have a fantasy league off all “my friends”

    • Travel Summary says:

      Yes, most of these websites allow you to set up your own league to invite only the people you want in the league (they give you a custom link to send to friends). This isn’t the best way to create “fake” games because the house rake is always 10%, which means you’ll always be down money. It’s better to actually try to win if possible.

  9. ShoNuffHarlem says:

    Why do you have to fully earn the bonus, what does it matter? Just curious I have played these for fun (didn’t think about MS!), but don’t know why it would matter if you were happy you played $50, ended up even or up, and then waited the 2-3 months and took your own money back but left bonus money on the table.

    It also would be nice to know how much bonus you get for how much bet on each site sort of so you know how much the true vig is.

    • Travel Summary says:

      Fully earning the bonus is more of a recommendation from me. In my opinion it’s wise to arouse as little attention as possible, and someone that signs up and withdraws before the bonus is earned might look a little suspicious. Maybe I’m just not as daring and aggressive as others.

  10. ShoNuffHarlem says:

    I don’t think they would even care about that. There may be tools (or may not be) to monitor if you deposit, play very little, then withdraw over and over. But leaving bonuses on the table is sort of a plus for them – like giving you a rebate form you never actually send in. They can advertise 100% match bonuses, but they aren’t really 100% because they know maybe 50% are really only ever earned. As a long-time businessman, it’s something you HOPE people don’t fully redeem – not an indicia of something wrong. Its part of your profitability.

  11. The other problem, which poses some pretty significant risk, is that money deposited in your account is not like a bank account in that its not an insured deposit. Yes it is a liability of the company (like a deposit is a liability of a bank) but if the company files a petition in bankruptcy, you’re merely an unsecured creditor of the company and will likely only get back pennies on the dollar, if anything. If you need to manufacture a few hundred here and there, this is probably OK, but if someone is looking to depsoit significant sums of money, there could be substantial risk of loss.

    Additionally, I’d be interested to know whether these companies are registered money trasmitter businesses that are subject to Treasury regulations. No one wants to trigger a SAR filing and be put on FINCEN’s radar….

    • Travel Summary says:

      This is very true – you’re putting a lot of money on the line with something like this.

    • Yep, just ask all those who lost $$$$ when all the online poker sites were shut down.

    • Very unique. You definitely get the award for the most creative MS technique of the year.

      I will be staying out of it though because of how long it takes to go through one cycle. This technique though inspires me to outside of the box (WM) .

  12. Travel Summary, I’m just curious, what’s your favorite team? Also, what are your tips on playing these fantasy hockey games? This whole fantasy hockey thing would only work if you can either minimize your losses, break even, or make a profit.

    Another question, seeing that the average float time is 1-2 months: If you deposit your money into the account during the off-season, then can you withdraw the money at the end of the off-season without playing? If you deposit your money in late June and keep it there until early September, then it’s only fair that they would let you withdraw your money without playing and not shut you down, seeing that you don’t have any games to play during that time.

    • Travel Summary says:

      I live in Southern California and grew up when Gretzky was in his heyday. Disney came out with the Mighty Ducks movies and I was hooked as a kid. I live in Orange County and have been a die-hard Ducks fan my entire life!

      I wish it was as easy as me giving a couple of tips here and there, but the reality is that you have to be on top of the sport all the time. I know line combinations, who’s injured, who’s on a hot/cold streak, who performs better against certain teams, etc….and it’s simply because I’m a huge fan. All these things factor in to who I pick on a particular day. To pick my goalie I always visit this site for help: http://www2.dailyfaceoff.com/starting-goalies/

      These websites don’t keep track of deposits by season. The way they see it is there’s always a sport that’s in season. In theory they don’t care when you withdraw your money. It’s definitely easy to do that as a one time deal (meaning not play at all), but if you plan on cycling continuously then it would be wise to play.

  13. @TS, you gave me a great idea for something similar but without fantasy sports. Will have to experiment online with my idea to ensure it works.

  14. Would this also work on the horse race betting sites? Some have a very nice bonus.

    • Travel Summary says:

      Yes, it absolutely would. The government considers those gambling though, so take that into consideration. As long as you aren’t getting hit with a fee, you should be completely fine.

  15. Great original MR post, thank you! This sounds like a good way to MR with $10-15k and time it to a credit card churn every 6 months or so. As long as you can float the cash and feel that you are making better “interest” than a bank, why not. And in this case if it is spending for bonuses, then you are way ahead. There is some risk, the site can go down and you are an unsecured creditor during their Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, but that’s a remote possibility. Thank you for your post, this is a great idea.

    Cheers,

    PedroNY

    • “There is some risk, the site can go down and you are an unsecured creditor during their Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings”, this might be the most risk we have to tolerate and we have no inside information until it is announced publicly. It might be a remote possibility, however, when it happens to you, it is 100%. There is another similar option: deposit money(use credit card) into online foreign currency trading brokerage account(such as FXDD etc.). You have to risk your money to trade(just like betting on your team). The companies have to comply with federal law. Your money loss in trading is not covered by insurance, however your deposit sitting in your account is insured. Just like Travel Summary said you have to play to avoid suspicious, you have to trade(maybe quite a bit) to avoid the attention to lead to shutdown (they will close your account if they don’t get enough profit from you to cover the fee that paid to credit card company for your deposit). If you are good at betting the trades, it’s not a big issue, otherwise you will lose more than you gained from your miles or points. I did this a couple of times, and didn’t risk my money to trade enough and they banned me from deposit w/ credit card. Wish everyone’s good luck on the betting. The company’s goal is to make money on you, if you try to think smart to beat their system, they just simply shut you down, no explanation, because they have their right to do business with whoever they want (and they clearly don’t want your business when they find out you are not profit to them).

      • Travel Summary says:

        This is a fantastic comment that everyone should read!

        • Data point and help needed:
          My newly opened(less than 2 month) Fidelity Card got shut down due to huge spending within a month(spent $26000 to buy Visa GC even though only have $6000 credit line, I paid off after purchase to release the credit and then buy again). CSR said they don’t like what I am doing and consider my income can’t support such spend and won’t re-open my account. All rewards are forfeit due to the closure. Anybody else ever encounter such situation and is there any way to appeal? (I explained that I did this on the store promotion(Safeway $10 coupon) and it’s not a daily base my spending patten and plus all my bill is paid off. It seems didn’t help, they insist that I can’t afford spending so much. How bad impact will be for closing the account by issuer? I did not do anything wrong. Is there any way to get the rewards back?)

  16. I salute you, this is crazy enough. Not a sports fan, though, so I would definitely NOT know what I’m doing. But it appears that for many people this would work nicely.

  17. Does the money you withdraw to PayPal get credited to the same card you Charged it to or not ?

  18. mike shymanski says:

    I love your idea,ive used it too but the miles are secondary to the deposit bonuses and I love playing the games.Let me know your referral codes for DraftDay and FanThrowdown and Ill sign up under your code. ive got one not on your list,FantasyFeud and my referral code is COC8OA99. Ive been on flyertalk too and its quite possible you are the person who gave me the original idea. Write me anytime and we can talk strategies. keep idea the great ideas. Mike

  19. Daily Fantasy does take a fair bit of skill so not full on gambling.

    Surprised you listed FanThrowDown since they are such a small site. I play FanDuel and DraftTeam.com which might be the most user friendly of the two, plus it is from my hometown Vancouver.

    Good article.

    • Travel Summary says:

      Thanks! FanThrowDown actually had some other name when I first started using it. I’m not sure when they switched names, but I never liked how they did scoring anyway so I’ve avoided it recently.

  20. I was considering getting involved in this after hearing the recent radio ads for this stuff. Reading your post definitely pushed me into it. I have been playing fantasy sports and collecting points and miles for years so this is the perfect combination of the two. So far I have only been doing $5 nba games each night for the past month. I am actually up about 10 bucks so far. It’s important to note that it can take a lot to earn the sign up bonus. For example, at draftstreet the sign up bonus is $200 but is only released to you at a rate of 5% of what you bet. So if you enter a $10 league you will earn 50 cents of your bonus. To get the full 200 bonus you need to wager a total of $4000.

    • mike shymanski says:

      I see they do have head to head just 2 people against each other with a 7% rake. IF it was possible to figure out a way to just play yourself it might be possible to unlock enough money while still UP money. Still working on it,also on FanDuel they have a rakeback payment so if you wager $1000 in a month you get 17% back.Love trying to work the math..its like cracking a safe :) Ive also found that finding 2 or 3 bargains and Lebron,Love and/or Durrant does well daily. the 2 guys that most of the winners have had so far are Tony Wroten and Kirk Heinrich. My strategy lately is loading up on GS warriors,I used all 5 starters against OKC last week and won 9 of 10 that day..like you im just a $5 and $10 guy too but im getting more confidence now.

Trackbacks

  1. […] by opening new bank accounts that can be funded by credit card.  Riskier approaches include gambling online and investing online (more here).  Do you have any favorite approaches that I missed in this […]

  2. […] This approach isn’t for me, but I expect that it appeals to some.  Fantasy sports leagues and other online betting options often accept credit cards for funding bets.  Travel Summary has a great write-up here. […]

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