Social games studio FlowPlay has expanded its range of fantasy sports games with the launch of All Star Daily Fantasy, a virtual currency-based daily fantasy sports (DFS) product.

The launch aims to take advantage of the increasing popularity of DFS with a product that the company describes as widely legal and catering to a broad range of casual sports fans across the US. 

All Star Daily Fantasy is available within FlowPlay’s flagship social casino title Vegas World, joining its other free-to-play fantasy games, Vegas World Sportsbook and the poker-DFS hybrid 5 Card Draft. 

The game replicates traditional DFS mechanics including individual tournaments, 50-50 contests and high-low betting options. It has gone live with contests based around the National Basketball Association (NBA), allowing players to select a full team based on a salary cap, winning points based on the players’ performance. 

Using virtual currency, players can participate in multiple games, making several entries per contest and editing their line-ups until the start of each game. It also comes with a feature unique to FlowPlay which allows players to buy insurance at the start of any game by purchasing gems, or in-game virtual currency, which replace a portion of the wager if the game results in a loss. 

The game will be expanded to include college and professional sports such as hockey, baseball and football as each league’s season begins over the course of 2016. 

FlowPlay notes that more than $1bn has been invested in US-based DFS companies since 2009, with the market now becoming increasingly regulated as a number of states class the game as a form of gambling. 

Despite this, players are becoming increasingly interested in the game, giving businesses the opportunity to reconsider the direction of the industry by developing free-to-play casual games as the best viable alternatives to real-money contests. 

To ensure it can properly take advantage of this opportunity, FlowPlay is building out its roster of free-to-play DFS games with the support of its board of directors including former Starwave CEO Mike Slade. During his tenure at Starwave, Slade launched the first iteration of and produced the first online fantasy football game. 

"In the two decades since fantasy sports first made its way onto the Internet, progress has been steady – but with the dramatic rise and consumer demand for DFS drawing new attention to the industry over the last year, the market is more ripe for innovation than ever," Slade explained. 

"That innovation will be through making DFS more widely accessible and attractive to casual sports fans and non-gamblers,” he explained. “I’ve enjoyed having a front row seat to witness FlowPlay's success in the social casino sector as a Board Member and investor. 

“Their latest focus on leveraging an already-proven approach to free-to-play casinos will translate well to fantasy sports and help bridge the gap to a much more mainstream audience.”

"Significant issues – including regulatory pressure, limited audiences, and high operating costs – continue to burden the online fantasy sports industry, especially in the US,” FlowPlay CEO Derrick Morton added. 

“FlowPlay is leveraging our experience in the casual games industry to introduce a completely new model that is sustainable and legal. Social sports wagering games are a viable alternative to the embattled daily fantasy industry, and supply an appealing experience for millions of sports enthusiasts that have been largely alienated by current offerings."