Yahoo launches fantasy sports service with daily cash prizes

Yahoo cannot match Google or Facebook in advertising using traditional social methods, so it is banking on one of its core services: fantasy sports games.

Fantasy sports is played by over 56 million in the United States and Canada alone, making it even more prominent than video games like League of Legends and Call of Duty. Yahoo has been one of the premiere services for fantasy sports, but until now it has not brought a cash element into the game.

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The new service, named Yahoo Sports Daily Fantasy, pits friends and online players against one another. The player with the best team at the end of the day or week wins cash prizes.

"Today, we're taking the game to the next level and giving fans what they've always wanted — the chance to compete with their friends and win cash, everyday. With today's launch, Yahoo becomes the first major sports site and the only technology company of its scale to offer its own Daily Fantasy experience," said Yahoo in a release statement.

Unlike gambling, which is banned in all but four states in the US, fantasy sports is seen as a game of skill, not a game of chance. That means Yahoo is able to make the service available in the US, Canada and hopefully Europe for football fans.

There are already growing fantasy sports services that pay out large amounts of money in the UK and US, including betting firms like William Hill, Paddy Power and Bet365, who all offer fantasy services for gamers.

Yahoo’s focus has been on mobile innovation, both as a tech firm and an API provider. This is a change in the formula, appealing to Yahoo’s core audience instead of chopping it away.