Social casino studio FlowPlay has moved to take advantage of its players’ interest in fantasy sports with the launch of 5 Card Draft, a new title combining elements of card games and fantasy football.

The game is now live on FlowPlay’s Vegas World free-to-play social casino app, combining poker gameplay with fantasy sports drafting mechanics.

5 Card Draft sees five cards selected for up to five players in any given game, each with a different professional football player, while each hand contains a quarterback, kicker, running back and two wide receivers. They are selected from any of the 32 National Football League (NFL) teams, with players allowed to make two trades each hand.

Points are earned based on each player’s stats from a randomly-determined year and week of a past season for each round, with the winner the one with the most points over six hands.

“With the current landscape of the fantasy sports market, millions of sports enthusiasts have largely been alienated from engaging in fantasy sports due to the complexity and time required to play the existing products,” FlowPlay chief executive Derrick Morton said.

The game has been launched following a major survey of Vegas World players, which found that one third of casual gamers are interested in fantasy sports, with 57 per cent more interested without any need for real-money wagering.

More than 4,700 players were surveyed, with the majority that classed themselves as fantasy sports players saying they would play fantasy games on Vegas World if it remained a free-to-play product.

A total of 37 per cent said they felt uncomfortable spending money on fantasy sports, while 71 per cent showed an interest in fantasy games that combined elements of casual gameplay. There was also great interest in multiplayer games, with 76 per cent saying they would be more likely to play new games should they allow them to compete against others.

FlowPlay also cited figures released by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which said 56.8m will play fantasy sports in the US and Canada this year, with each spending an average of $465 annually.

The growth of operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings has increased interest in online daily fantasy sports, prompting FlowPlay to develop 5 Card Draft in an attempt to bridge daily fantasy contests and the broader casual gaming industry.

“With millions of fantasy sports players, and more than one-third of the US population classifying themselves as casual gamers (according to eMarketer), the market opportunity is significant,” the studio said.

As a result it will release a number of new fantasy products in the coming months as it aims to take advantage of the opportunity.

“5 Card Draft is the first of several products that we'll be launching in the coming months that aim to intersect casual games and fantasy sports,” Morton said. “With the goal of connecting with unreached audiences, our fantasy sports games will include a range of gameplay options and feature sports beyond football.”

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