The following is an in-depth Draftstars review. This review covers the history, features, interface, sports & racing markets, upsides and downsides of the service.
This review is part of our comprehensive Bookmaker Reviews section. The Betting Agencies page provides information and reviews for other sports betting agencies that are suitable for Australians. The following details are updated periodically to keep them up to date.
History, Location and Licence
Draftstars is a daily fantasy sports service that was launched in 2016 as a joint venture between BetEasy)and Fox Sports. In 2018, Draftstars was acquired by PlayUp Interactive Pty Ltd (ABN 79 602 262 644)1, which itself was launched in 2014. PlayUp Interactive Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of PlayUp Digital Pty Ltd (ABN 21 135 299 473)2, which was launched in 2009. In addition to Draftstars, PlayUp Interactive owns and operates the bookmaker service PlayUp, which was created out of the merger of ClassicBet, Mad Bookie and TopBetta.
PlayUp Interactive is 100% Australian owned and operated. It is licensed as a sports bookmaker in the Northern Territory by the Northern Territory Racing Commission. It’s office is in Sydney.
Draftstars is the leading daily fantasy sports operator in Australia. It is the official daily fantasy sports partner of the AFL and it is an approved betting partner of the NRL. Draftstars is also the official cricket fantasy partner of Newscorp and the official fantasy partner of the Rabbitohs.
Draftstars offers contests for the AFL, NRL, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, soccer, golf and cricket.
What is Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)?
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is a type of sports fantasy game where members pay an entry fee and compete in a contest against each other by building/drafting a squad for an upcoming fixture (or list of fixtures) whilst remaining under a salary cap. Points are earned based on the real-life performance of the selected players. As opposed to season-long competitions, daily fantasy sports games last for a short-period of time, such as one day of competition (e.g. Saturday AFL matches) or one specific fixture (e.g. Collingwood vs. Hawthorn). The winners receive a share of a pre-determined pot which is funded by the entry fees. A portion of the entry fees go to the DFS provider, which is how the service is funded. This fee is often called a rake.
Contest entry fees at Draftstars typically range between $2 and $50, with typical prize pools on the weekend ranging from $300 to $100,000. The number of participants to win a payout varies from contest to contest and largely depends on the number of participants.
The entry fee, along with the current number of participants, the number of payouts and the prize pool are displayed for each contest in the Lobby.
The distribution of the prize pool varies per game. As one example, in a contest with a $10,000 prize pool and payouts for the top 195 participants, the prize pool was distributed as follows:
11TH: 15TH – $97.10
16TH: 20TH – $72.83
21ST: 30TH – $48.55
31ST: 55TH – $38.84
56TH: 80TH – $33.99
81ST: 195TH – $29.12
For player points scoring, the rules depend on the game. For example the AFL scoring system is as follows:
Hit Out: 1
Free Kick For: 1
Free Kick Against: -3
Below is a screenshot of the player selection area of an AFL game. For most sports you are required to select a certain number of players per position. Points scoring form data is provided for each player to help you make your selections. Your salary cap is displayed, along with the salary cap space remaining as you make your selections. For those who like to use spreadsheet software to help formulate their picks, form data for the players in each contest is available as a .csv file.
The website enables you to track upcoming, live and completed games. For upcoming games you can make changes to your squad selection right up until the event commences. During each contest live data is provided in near real-time, which gives you the fun of tracking your live progress as the game unfolds.
For completed games your total score, final ranking and winnings are displayed. If you click on a concluded game you can see which members won which prize and view the player-by-player score for your selected squad. If you click on a player you can then see how their points were accrued.
In 2020 Draftstars launched horse racing contests. Unlike their sports contests there is no salary cap when selecting your horses. Players simply select one horse in each race. Final scores are based on the official S-TAB dividends, which are converted to points. For example, a horse that wins and pays a dividend of $12 would receive 12 points, and horse that places and pays a dividend of $2.40 would receive 2.4 points. Horses that win will receive both win and place dividends as points, while horses that place will receive just the place dividends as points.
Services and Features
|Deposit options||Credit card, POLi|
|Withdrawal options||Bank transfer|
|Transaction fees||None that we’re aware of|
|Minimum bet||The smallest competitions to enter cost $2.00|
|Deposit turnover requirements||Any deposits must be turned over at least once prior to requesting a withdrawal|
|Rake / Fee||The rake/commission charged by Draftstars isn’t officially stated, but the terms of service for target contests state: “In the event that no Player reaches the Target Score no Player will receive a Payout and 85% of the entry fees received for the Target Wagering Contest will be added to the Prize Pool for the next Target Wagering Contest.” This gives us the impression that the standard rake is 15%.|
|Range of Sports||AFL, NRL, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, soccer, golf and cricket|
|Forbidden Jurisdictions||Draftstars only accepts Australian and New Zealand residents|
|Mobile betting||The website uses a responsive design that tailors the layout to the screen of the device you’re using. Android and iPhone Apps are available.|
|Identity checks||Draftstars will attempt to verify your identity by matching the details you have submitted. If this is unsuccessful, they will request additional details from you by email. Accounts must be verified within 45 days of signup or they will be closed. In our case we were able to complete the verification process online with ease. We made a deposit by POLi, but if you use a credit or debit card to fund your account, Draftstars may request a copy of the front of that card. When we made our first withdrawal we were required to upload a portion of a scanned/PDF copy of a bank statement.|
|Self-exclusion||Pre-commitment facilities are available to set daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limits. Any request to remove or increase a deposit limit will not be effected until 7 days after the request. A self-exclusion facility is also available by contacting support.|
|Dormant account fees||Your account will be deemed as inactive if you have not made a deposit or entered a contest for a period of more than 2 years. Once your account has been deemed inactive Drafstars reserves the right to charge an ‘Inactive Account Fee’ of up to $5.00 per month. If your account balance is zero, or becomes zero, no further fees are charged.|
- Draftstars is Australian-owned and is operated by a well-known company
- It is the leading daily fantasy sports provider in Australia
- You can verify your identity online without the need to submit scanned copies of ID
- Excellent website interface that is fast to load
- POLi3 is available as a deposit option
- From our experience withdrawal requests are handled quickly
- The only way to contact support is through an online form
- The default competition rake/fee isn’t officially stated, but we infer it to be 15%, which is higher than the 12.5% charged by Sportchamps and the 10% charged for TopBetta tournaments
- Inactive account fees
Daily fantasy sports provide an interesting alternative to tournament betting websites like SportChamps, in which prize money is awarded based on achieving the highest hypothetical profit. For daily fantasy sports in Australia, Draftstars is the market leader. A good range of contests are available to suit a variety of budgets and there is sufficient member activity for Draftstars to offer regular contests with five-figure prize pools. The website interface is excellent and plenty of form data is available for those who know how to use it, including .csv files. Draftstars is definitely worth a look for those who are seeking an alternative to standard betting and tournament betting.
Notes and Sources
- 1 https://abr.business.gov.au/ABN/View/79602262644
- 2 https://abr.business.gov.au/ABN/View/21135299473
- 3 POLi facilitates online bank transfers that are acknowledged by the bookmaker instantly. This enables you to log into your banking provider, transfer money to the bookmaker, and place bets immediately.