Despite being a relative new kid on the block, Draftstars has quickly established itself as one of the best daily fantasy sports websites around. The company was set up in 2016 by Crownbet and Fox using the PlayUp platform and has maintained its base in Sydney ever since. Seeking to capitalise on the success and popularity of Daily Fantasy Sports in the United States, Draftstars have taken what's generally on offer and added a truly Australian flavour to it.
The Draftstars name has become synonymous with Australian sport at this stage. They're official betting partners of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and approved betting partner of the AFL and NRL.
The goal for players at Draftstars is the same as at any other DFS site – take a small buy in and turn it into a life changing sum of money. What they do differently though is cater to Aussie needs. DFS is no longer just about NFL, NBA and MLB. Now you can have those sports but also try your hand at Australian sports like AFL, NRL and cricket.
Do Draftstars deserve the word 'stars' in their name? We've given them a thorough once over, so keep reading to find out!
At the time of this review, there is no offer or bonus aimed specifically at new customers. While this might seem like a negative, Draftstars have full faith in their product and run daily free tournaments for all customers – new and existing alike.
Signing up at Draftstars is as easy as you'd expect it to be. Hit the 'Sign Up' option at the top of the page and the registration form will appear. All of the usual information needs to be provided – full name, email address, mobile number, date of birth and country of residence. At the time of review, Draftstars is available only in Australia and New Zealand. On the form, you also select your username and password. This username will appear on any leaderboard you're on, so keep it clean.
Two tick boxes appear at the bottom of the registration form to confirm that you agree to the terms and conditions (a link is there to view these Ts and Cs) and an optional box if you'd like to set a deposit limit.
Once you've provided this information, hit 'Sign Up Now' and your account has been set up. Next, add a payment method to get the ball rolling, deposit some funds and you're good to go.
As is the norm with all regulated operators, Draftstars will complete a verification process to confirm you are old enough to gamble legally and to confirm ownership of payment method. In our experience, we received an email within 24 hours and replied with the relevant documents. The account was fully active and confirmation received that same day. While this is seen as an obstacle by some, it's reassuring that Draftstars are taking their regulatory requirements seriously and shows that they can be trusted.
A lot of players got their first taste of daily fantasy by playing tournaments on US sports. It comes as no surprise to find NBA and NFL as two of the marquee sports on offer at Draftstars. Football and golf are also available, with tournaments open on the A-League and English Premier League and all US PGA Tour events.
Closer to home, the available options change based on the time of year. You'll find AFL, BBL and NRL contests during their respective seasons, while cricket tournies run on all big games, including ODIs and test matches.
The range of games at Draftstars really is impressive. We've broken down some of the contest types you'll find on site.
Head to Head – much like heads up in poker, you're going up against one opponent. The best team score scoops the prize pool.
Tournament – these are contests open to a set number of entrants. Every entry fee contributes to the prize pool, with prizes available for finishing in the top X amount of places on the leaderboard. The amount of places in the prize money will be available from the content information page in the lobby.
Rapidfire – Unique to Draftstars, Rapidfire contests involve selecting one player from each of the five selected games which Draftstars have chosen. In a Rapidfire 3 contest, you must choose three correct selections (for a x1.8 payout), while you need to choose all 5 correctly in a Rapidfire 5 content for a x20 payout.
Drop 1 – anyone who has played DFS will understand how painful it is to have a great lineup let down by one underperforming player. Drop 1 contests heal this heartache! You choose a 9 player lineup as normal, but only your 8 highest scoring players count towards your score. No more fear of duds.
You'll find these and many other game types in the Draftstars lobby in the top left of your screen. Once here, all currently available sports are listed from left to right along the top of the page. Click on the sport you want to enter a contest in and all currently available games will be displayed.
The lobby can be sorted by entry cost, number of entries or prize pool, with entries starting from as little as $2. Prize pools on the other hand, go up into the tens of thousands. All you have to do to start picking your lineup is hit the 'Enter' button beside your contest of choice.
Now the fun begins! The roster selection page is laid out perfectly, with the list of players taking up most of the screen, your available salary cap at the top of the page and your current lineup on the right hand side.
Clicking on any player's name brings up three tabs – their recent form, game logs and news – all very useful information when choosing your lineup. If it's all a little bit much for you, there's an autofill option. Users can lock specific players in their lineup and autofill the rest, or just autofill the entire roster. A handy option for beginners or someone looking to take a bit of a punt.
When you're happy with the lineup, hit the 'Submit Lineup' button beneath your roster. You're now in the tournament. You'll be able to access the leaderboard or track your entry's progress either from the lobby or My Account section. Everything is easy to follow and is laid out cleanly.
At the time of writing, Draftstars accept three deposit methods – Visa, Mastercard credit and debit cards and POLi. The minimum deposit is just $5, while the maximum allowed is $1,000 per day, $5,000 per week and $10,000 per month.
All withdrawals from Draftstars are done by bank transfer. To request one, select the 'Withdraw' option in the My Account section and enter your bank details. The minimum withdrawal amount is set at $20 for Australian residents and $100 for those in New Zealand. We found it typically takes 3-5 working days for the money to reach your bank account.
Adding more payment options down the line would open things up for a lot more users. Hopefully the addition of e-wallets like Neteller, Skrill and Paypal aren't far away.
At first, we used Desktop to play at Draftstars and found it a seamless experience. The website is laid out in a very user friendly way and is quick and responsive. There's a massive amount of information available and we found it very easy to digest on a desktop screen.
We didn't think the mobile experience could live up to desktop, given the speed of the site. We were wrong. Draftstars have an app available for Android and iOS. This allows you to take the great layout and speed of the desktop site and bring it with you wherever you go. Nothing is compromised for mobile either. Everything you'll find on desktop can be accessed on mobile – from tournament info to player game logs, My Account to roster selection.
As for choosing which is best, it's really a matter of preference. The sheer amount of stats and data on offer is easier to read on a larger screen, but there's no substitute for taking it all with you in your pocket thanks to the great mobile experience on offer here.
This is an area Draftstars could improve on. Our query with Customer Support was responded to within the time frame listed on site and the service provided was excellent. However, there is only one way to get in touch, and that's through email. This can be done by sending your mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the form on site.
Hopefully phone support, live chat or an alternative option is in the pipeline, just to give customers more options.
Responsible gambling is something which is rightly taken very seriously at Draftstars. That becomes clear during the signing up process, where you're given the option to set a deposit limit before you've even finished opening your account. The self-exclusion function on site allows users to set activity, spend or deposit limits on their account.
Beyond that, the 'Gamble Responsibly' link at the bottom of the page features tons of information for anyone looking for more details on responsible gambling or if they feel they should take steps to control their gambling.
This section of the site contains advice on identifying problems with online gambling as well as a problem gambling self-assessment and advice on maintaining control. Contact details for Gambling Help Online and information on longer term self-exclusions from Draftstars can also be found on this page.
The daily fantasy sports environment is slowly becoming more and more flooded and is no longer just a case of choosing between one of two big sites. Draftstars show that it's no longer a US only environment too, by offering unique sports to the Australian market.
Whether you're a traditional NFL or NBA daily fantasy fan, or looking for something on your doorstep like AFL or NRL, Draftstars gets the seal of approval from us. With a range of daily and weekly free and real cash contests open, why not open an account and see if you can scoop some huge payouts?