It’s that time of year again! Football is here and if you live in Las Vegas, there isn’t a better place to make some extra cash by entering one of the many football contests around town. Whether you’re a football fan or not, it’s likely that you’re definitely a cash fan which is what many Las Vegas casinos lay down to entice a visit to their property.
The football season is the one time of the year that a casino marketing department actually gets heavily involved with the sports books because there is so much cross-over business from football fans who come in all shapes and sizes. Football appeals to everyone which makes offering contests with huge overlays good business sense.
The overlay is the amount that is offered as opposed to what is actually brought in by entry fees. The Boyd group’s free contest is the ultimate overlay because they are giving away $500,000 this season without taking in any entry fees. Station Casinos’ and the Palms’ $25 contests never come close to covering what they guarantee in prize money.
Here’s a look at some of this season’s contests around town beginning with the high-end affairs.
Las Vegas Hilton Super Book – Super Contest – Entry Fee: $1,500
If you Google “Las Vegas football contest,” just about each of the results that pop up have something to do with the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book’s Super Contest, now in its 21st year. The Hilton casino wasn’t the first to have a football contest, but it was the first to have a high end contest which has attracted a lot of attention from bettors of all kinds over the years.
“If you want to compete against the best handicappers in the land, come play the Super Contest,” said Race and Sports Executive Director Jay Kornegay. “The contest has a long, storied tradition, well before I arrived here, and the players have continued to keep its prestige high.”
The draw of the Super Contest that requires a $1,500 entry fee is the lure of the huge prize structure and being crowned champion. Last year’s winner, Steven Fennic, aka “Fezzik,” took home $196,800 for winning and being the most consistent handicapper over 17 weeks. It was Fezzik’s second year in a row winning the Super Contest, something not even legendary handicapper and former Super Contest winner Mike Lee was able to do.
“We get all types of bettors playing the contest,” said Kornegay, “By no means is it just a contest where the professional handicappers blow everyone away. We have quite few entries that are pooled together by a group of dealers or bartenders from casinos around town who turn in their picks using a consensus play within their group. We’ve also had winners of the contest who have done it in their first year playing, so it’s a much broader pool than just some of the known names that enter.”
The exposure and incremental bets made because of the contest from those entered, and others who just visit to see the picks, is the foundation of what a contest is supposed to achieve. They have created their own niche and market that separates them from everyone else.
The Super Contest rules remain the same. Pick five games a week against the listed spread. All selections must be made by 11 a.m. Saturday for that week’s games and all entry fees are returned as prize money.
This season, Kornegay has made it easier than ever for bettors to get the selections because he’ll be posting them on LVHilton.com.
South Point Sports Book – Friendly Frank’s Pro Championship Challenge: Entry Fee $2,500
This will be the third year the South Point will be offering the high-end contest. This is another contest that has a huge overlay possibility. They are guaranteeing $250,000 in prize money regardless if they get the 100 entries it would take to pay for the contest. All additional entries are paid out to the top four finishers, with the winner guaranteed to win $100,000.
Another attraction to this contest besides the prize money is the bonus money of $50,000 South Point will pay out to contestants who win at a 65% clip or better for the year. All weekly entries must be submitted by 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
LeRoy’s Horse and Sports Place – Pro and College Challenge: Entry Fee: $250
The sports book with multiple locations throughout Nevada has a couple of mid-range prized contests that appeal to both College and Pro Football Handicappers. Each contest entry fee is $250 with all prize money returned to the players.
The lower price, and mix of both College and Pro, make this a very attractive opportunity for both the serious handicapper and the recreational bettor. In both contests, the top 40 finishers win prize money which is dictated by the amount of entrants. If 400 entries are signed up, first place will net $30,000.
Guests can buy up to five entries each for each league. In the College format, the entrant must select seven games a week against the spread. Deadline for entries is Friday, Sept. 4.
In the Pro format, the entrant must select five games a week and the deadline to sign-up is Saturday, September 12th.
Cal-Neva and Station Casinos have done away with their high-end contests for the 2010 season.
Station Casinos – Last Man Standing: Entry fee: $25
For the second consecutive year, Station books will have both versions of their College and Pro Last Man Standing contest available at all Fiesta and Station properties. Both of these contests have been wildly popular in the Las Vegas Valley because all entry fees are returned to the eventual winner. The sheer volume of entrants makes the top prize very beefy and has increased each year since the contest began.
In both versions, you can buy four entries and get one free. Make one selection against the spread per week. If you win, you advance to the next week, all the way until there is ultimately one person remaining.
LeRoy’s Horse and Sports Place – Three-n-Out:
Entry fee: $25
This is an interesting King of the Hill type format that asks the contestant to make one selection a week playing Pro games using either a side or a total for any game. The concept is simple, keep picking winners and you advance to the following week, however, as a bonus, you get three losses until you’re out.
This is a very affordable contest that can really stretch your $25 buy-in a long way in entertainment value. It’s also very convenient because LeRoy’s are everywhere in Nevada. All entry fees are returned and whoever is the final contestant without losing three times wins it all. An added bonus is if you should be so unlucky to lose your first three weeks, it’s an automatic comp entry into the mid-season contest.
No Points Contests
Boyd Gaming – Pick the Pro’s Football Contest:
Entry fee: $0 FREE
This contest offers $30,000 in prize money each week and costs nothing. What’s the catch, you may say? Nothing, really, other than signing up for their players card so they can track your selections. They have eight locations across the Vegas Valley making it easy to enter and play no matter where you live.
In this economic climate, there really is no better deal than this in Las Vegas. It’s free money just waiting to be given out and all it costs you each week is a few minutes to walk through their doors. There is the little matter of actually picking the most straight up winners (no point spreads), which is much harder than making the effort to get there.
There is absolutely no risk at all no matter which way you try to look at it. It’s free money out there for the taking. All you have to do is select more winners straight up than the rest of the contestants. There are no season prizes, just a large amount of weekly cash.
If you already have a B Connected players card, you can sign on and register at PickthePros.com which will also make you eligible for sweepstakes prizes available for only those online entries. During the season, you can also check the weekly winners to see if you rank with your selections. Sign-ups have already begun and there is no cut off date since the prizes are weekly. Over $500,000 in cash prizes are up for grabs.
Station Casino’s – Great Giveaway: Entry fee: $25
This staple of Las Vegas contests is a weekly no-points contest that is offering $1.4 million in cash prizes with weekly prizes and end of season prizes. As always, if you buy two entries, you get one free. Player who have points on their boarding pass may also use them to purchase entries.
Continuing with their grand prize from the Great Giveaway’s roots, most wins for the season wins a house valued at $225,000, or you can take $100,000 cash.
The contest remains unique because contestants can also play for most losers which has a grand prize of winning a house or $100,000. It’s just as easy to pick winners as it is losers, but most of the time the pool of players going for losers is far less than those going for winners.
The weekly prizes are $20,000 for the winners and $10,000 for the losers. For the winners, you have the option of taking a brand new Chevy Silverado or Camaro or $20,000 cash.
Complete rules are listed on mygreatgiveaway.com where you can also see the weekly winners and losers.
This is one of the largest overlays in the city and worth the visits.
Lucky’s Race and Sports Books Progressive Parlay Card
For the second year in a row, Lucky’s Sports Books will be offering their progressive parlay card which begins at $10,000. If there are no winners, 70% of the entry fees carry over to the next week until someone finally hits.
The parlay card is simple. All you have to do is sign up to be eligible for making an entry. It requires 16 selections being made with no point spread. Should you get all 16 games correct, you win the weekly progressive pool wherever it stands. The best part about the progressive format is that there are no sign ups, and it’s there is only a $5 entry per card and you can play unlimited entries. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that, and the overlay is through the roof on this one.
The progressive parlay cards are available every Wednesday and available at all Lucky’s Nevada locations throughout the state.
We will cover the rest of the contests next week.