This is the time of year where every sports book in Las Vegas is going to try and win the bettor over.
It’s an attempt to win your loyalty with hopes your weekly football bankroll visits their property.
Knowing football is the perfect lure or dangling carrot for just about everyone, the task at hand for the books is offering something special through contests, special promotions, drink specials, and on some occasions, odds specials.
There is so much going on over the next two weeks that I’m just going to stroll around the city and relay the info in a rapid fire approach.
With 17 sports books across the city, and one close to just about everyone’s home, Station Casinos has cornered the market on football promotions and they do it in spectacular fashion with the help of their marketing department, which has a keen sense of what the locals want.
The locals want free stuff and what isn’t free, they want cheap. Station has obliged through drink specials during football games, and also essentially offering entry into their Great Giveaway pro football contest for free.
For a $25 entry fee into The Great Giveaway, contestants have a chance to win a Camaro or Chevy truck each week, a house at the end of the year, and a total of $2 million in prizes on the season. All the contestant has to do is pick the most winners, or losers, weekly – with no point spread – and chances are, they’ll get some of that prize money back.
The big draw here, besides the huge overlay, is if you play all 17 weeks, they give you back your $25 in slot play. Their main goal is to ensure at least one visit a week, during which you may decide to play some tables games, dine in their restaurants, or play some parlay cards. Seems like a fair trade, right?
For the bettor who likes to play contests with a pointspread, Station offers a pro and college version of their Last Man Standing contest. For $25, the contestant picks one game a week against the spread. If you are correct, you get to move on to the next week and pick again, until finally there is only one last man, or woman, standing. For the college side, they guarantee $25,000. In the pros, they guarantee $75,000. They return 100 percent of the entry fees into the pot, and every year the prize money has exceeded their guaranteed amount.
Sunset Station seminar: This Friday night Sports Book Director Chuck Esposito is offering a free football seminar to the public. The seminar will be hosted by The Linemakers’ Brian Blessing and the special guest will be ESPN’s handicapping expert Hank Goldberg.
They will review some teams that will be under the radar this season and others that may be over-hyped, while also giving some betting advice on what type of bets bettors should be making regularly to maximize their profit.
The Station marketing department has also gone all in with their Sports Connection mobile phone app, which I’m told is very user friendly. So even if you can’t make a trip to the book, you can still get down on your games with ease wherever you may be within the city.
These guys have come to the States and made an immediate impact on not only Las Vegas, but the entire state of Nevada. They have over 175 sports books throughout the state and routinely offer some of the best odds on futures found anywhere. They, too, have a mobile phone app that offers everything that can be found on their odds board inside the book.
They have three football contests they’re offering to the entire state with the biggest being the Pro Pick’em contest. It costs $25 to enter and, if you like, you can enter 25 times. All entry fees are returned as prize money in the no-points contest and over $250,000 is prize money is guaranteed. They do one for the college side, too, with $100,000 offered in prize money.
A unique twist on the Station Last Man Standing contest is William Hill’s Three ’N Out contest. For $25, you pick one game against the spread each week, but you stay alive until losing three times. They guarantee $50,000 to the winner, a number that will surely be passed as all entry fees are returned as prize money.
Just in time for football season, William Hill opened their new Watch and Wager Sports Lounge inside the Railroad Pass Casino, a place already known for having great daily specials on beer.
Tony Miller has set up a bracket contest through the Las Vegas Sportsline radio show on ESPN that should create a lot of fun. The entry fee is $1,500 with only 16 contestants allowed, but those 16 picking games are all big names we all like to listen to.
Each week, two of the contestants will go head-to-head and explain their picks on the radio and on a video featured weekly on lvrj.com. The contestants will choose seven games off the board, pro or college, side or totals, and whoever advances through the bracket will win 80 percent of the prize pool with the runner-up getting the other 20 percent.
The best thing about this contest is being able hear each contestant’s thought process on games and run to the window yourself when the pick makes sense.
There are 103,000 reasons why you should make weekly visits out to the Aliante race and sports book near the Speedway, and it’s not just because book director Marc Nelson and manager Fred Crespi offer one of the most creative daily prop menus in town, but rather because they are offering a no-point pro football contest with a huge overlay.
They are guaranteeing $103,850 in total prize money with $3,300 offered in weekly prizes. The entry fee is $25, and if you buy three, the fourth one is free. If you haven’t been to their book, you must check it out. It’s one of the nicest in the city, and their cheap beers are some of the coldest in town.
I love this football contest just because it’s an in-house promotion offering $300,000 with no help from their sports book tenant, Cantor Gaming. Their no-points weekly contest is another huge overlay, but it says a lot about the casino, how much they value this time of year, and the relationships they have created with their loyal guests.
They could have banked the entire $300,000 by not offering the contest, and just collected their rent from Cantor, but marketing director Sherri Long would have none of that. By offering $300,000, a number that the $25 entry fees won’t come halfway to meeting, she’s showing everyone who comes through their doors that they mean something to the Palms. It’s free money up for grabs, so enter, and go get it.
If you want free money with a football contest, there may be no better place than the Boyd/Coast group with their no-points weekly contest because the contest is free! They are offering $525,000 in cash prizes with weekly and season-long money – just given away – for simply walking through the doors.
They have a great kiosk system in place that you make the selections with, and they always have great beer specials at all their bars.
The SuperContest is the legend of football contests in town. Winning the contest is a life changer, not only for snatching over $400,000 in first-place money, but also the recognition that comes with it. For $1,500, you can take your chance at putting your name in handicapping history.
Contestants pick five games a week against-the-spread and whoever has the most wins at the end of the year is crowned champion of the sports handicapping world. Over 900 entries are expected this season, which would be the third consecutive year of setting a record.
It’s unfortunate we can’t bet at all the PT’s locations around town using the William Hill kiosks, but after you get a phone app from William, Station or South Point, you can relax close to home at your favorite pub and watch all the games, and bet through your phone. They have great drink specials starting at $3 and all their pizzas are half-off.
For me, this is my absolute favorite place to visit. Not only because the drink prices are always special 24 hours a day, or because their TV presentation throughout the book and lounge is top notch, but rather because of the entire environment. Throughout the entire property, this place gets it. The entire staff gets it. They welcome every guest as though they are Michael Gaughan’s relative.
So while they may not have a football contest, it still remains a constant on my weekly route just because of the fair odds and the friendliness of the staff. They make me feel welcome, and I appreciate that. I also appreciate the 75-cent hot dog, which just might be the best value in Las Vegas.
As you can see, there is a lot going on in Las Vegas sports books right now, and best of all, everything is extremely affordable. There is free money out there just waiting for a wallet to be put into, so why not get your share.
Next week, we’ll talk with Jay Rood at MGM Resorts who has a brand new parlay card he’ll be debuting this season that should create a lot of interest.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].