In 2012, Dave Loughran made his first deposit into a FanDuel account — a daily fantasy sports (DFS) website that allows you to draft players and compete against hundreds of people in large tournaments for various payouts.
A few months later, his initial $US80 deposit had grown to $US12,000, Kent Babb at the Wall Street Journal reports. Shortly after, he pocketed $US25,000 in just one night.
Loughran, 28, who dropped out of Temple University in 2014, realised he was onto something and decided to turn daily fantasy into a full-time job.
Similar to regular fantasy sports, in DFS you “draft” a team of real players and get points for how they perform on the field.
Regular fantasy spans an entire season — you stick with your team and make slight tweaks over the course of months — but DFS is accelerated, and can last as short as a single day or a few hours.
The stakes are huge, and the competition stiff — 56 million people are competing — but so far, Loughran’s gamble has paid off: His earnings have reached six figures, he tells the WSJ.
Loughran is an anomaly in the world of DFS, in that he plays dozens of lineups each week in hundreds of games. He also consistently risks thousands of dollars, but it’s his profession, and his expertise is what separates him from the other 56 million players.
“Daily Fantasy Sports affords a huge advantage to skilled players,” a new McKinsey report says. “In the first half of the 2015 Major League Baseball (MLB) season, 91% of DFS players profits were won by just 1.3% of players.”
Regardless his skill level, at the end of the day, Loughran’s career will always come with an aspect of uncertainty — every single play on the field affects his earnings.
The future of DFS is also far from certain. Its legality is being called into question, and Nevada recently became the sixth state to ban the league, ruling it unlicensed gambling and not a game of skill.
Loughran doesn’t seem to be too concerned: “I have an attitude that I always land on my feet,” he tells the WSJ. “I always have.”