The gambling industry is a multi-faceted form of entertainment, and most of the thrill and excitement comes from relying on the whim of a lucky lady.

The dice are rolled, the cards are dealt, the roulette is spinning, and it is impossible to say exactly what will happen next. But some players are looking for other pleasure, such as using their analytical skills and extensive knowledge of their favorite sport to succeed. Today’s article is dedicated to a unique alternative to sports betting – fantasy sports.

What is fantasy sports?

In simple words, fantasy sports is a game based on sports statistics. Players assemble virtual teams of athletes and these teams are ranked based on the results of real athletes in real competitions. Players manage these teams like real managers or coaches: they select promising athletes, participate in drafts and monitor results as the season progresses, and make adjustments to the team.
Slotegrator Fantasy Sports Guide 0

Originally points were calculated by hand, but modern fantasy sports leagues use computers to keep track of scores. In its simplest form, the game can be played with a small group of people and with a scoring system, but other formats allow for large numbers of participants.

The game has grown from a fairly niche hobby to a global multi-billion dollar industry ($18.6 billion in 2019) that is projected to grow by 120% in the coming years.

According to the latest reports from the American Games and Fantasy Sports Association (FSGA), there are 59.3 million gamers in the US who spend an average of $653 annually. The FSGA estimates the market at $7.22 billion, split between traditional and daily varieties ($3.27 billion and $2.91 billion respectively), with the remaining $1.04 billion coming from additional industry-related services.


The origins of fantasy sports lie in the early 50s. The first version of fantasy baseball was played using one of two baseball-themed board games: American Professional Baseball Association and Strat-o-matic. Players used a combination of dice rolls and statistics from previous seasons to determine the winners.

In the 1960s, Wilfred “Bill” Winkenbach, who was a partner in the Oakland Raiders, with the support of sports reporters Scotty Stirling and George Ross, invented the first fantasy football game. Winkenbach had experimented with fantasy golf and baseball earlier in the 1950s and developed a set of rules that launched the first-ever American football fantasy league, the Oakland Professional Football Predictor League (GOPPPL), based at his home in California.

The author collected statistics on his own, and since there were no online sources at that time, everything was done the old fashioned way – Winkenbach called the sports departments of various newspapers, which received statistics by telegraph. Subsequently, the fantasy American football or gridiron grew from a friendly competition on paper into a business venture.

The earliest fantasy baseball leagues were popular at various colleges and universities in the 1960s and were mostly played by professors.

One of the students at the University of Michigan at the time was Daniel Okrent, who later invented roto, a fantasy baseball variation.
Slotegrator’s Fantasy Sports Guide 1
Roto or Baseball Rotisserie, inspired by APBA and Strat-o-matic, was formed by a group of avid baseball fans who chose the Manhattan restaurant Le Rotisserie Francais as their regular meeting place (hence the name). The biggest difference from the version using the board game was that the game was based on recent statistics rather than data from previous seasons. Players earn points based on the number of home runs, successful passes and saves, and other metrics. As the season progresses, numbers fluctuate and managers replace underperforming players in order to succeed.

Fantasy baseball entered the mainstream during the 1981 Major League Baseball strike when sports magazines covered fantasy leagues in the absence of actual competition, and by 1989 fantasy sports had already attracted millions of players.

After the 90s, the industry grew rapidly thanks to the development of the Internet. Not only have more people been able to connect and join leagues, but the sports data required for fantasy sports has become much more accessible.

During the fantasy 2000s, the sport became popular enough to serve as the basis for the television show The League, which aired from 2007 to 2019 on FX.

How is the game

Usually, the rules of fantasy sports are as follows: a group of players decide to form a league and recruit players to their fantasy teams before the start of the sports season. They then track those players’ stats on a weekly basis to determine which team is performing better. The winner takes the pot or the prize.