Free horseracing, college basketball contests hit Vegas

Dec 5, 2000 6:56 AM

What could be better than a free contest with cash prizes each week.

That’s what horseracing handicappers and college basketball lovers will find at a pair of Las Vegas casinos over the next few weeks.

At The Stratosphere, race and sports book director Sid Diamond offers a complimentary quinella contest for those who like playing the ponies.

"We’ll give the players nine races per day, and if they hit at least three quinellas, they’ll win cash," said Diamond. "And if they hit all nine, they’ll win $10,000."

Every Friday, entrants actually select three horses per race, but the third horse is utilized only upon a late scratch or a disqualification, virtually guaranteeing everybody a shot at the grand prize.

Three correct quinella selections from the nine pre-designated races earn $100, with $100 extra for each additional winner until a player gets seven. Then the prize jumps to $1,500, while eight quinellas claims $5,000. Full details are available at the casino.

Friday Quinellas

3 --$100 7 -- $1,500
4 -- 200 8 -- 5,000
5 -- 300 9 -- 10,000
6 -- 400

Meanwhile, the Wild Wild West Gambling Hall & Hotel will soon start its college basketball handicapping contest.

"It’s free, it’s weekly, and the winner gets $500 -- it’s that simple," said Pete Lee, a supervisor at the Wild Wild West sportsbook.

Entrants need to select the winner of 20 games per week, up to five per day (or 10 on Saturday).

"And you can choose from any college basketball game on the board," added Lee. "You just need to limit your picks to five per day, or up to 10 games on Saturday."

The person with the most aggregate wins will collect the $500. Meanwhile, in a separate bonus pool, should one lucky winner go a perfect 10-for-10 on Saturday alone, the casino will throw in an additional $1,000 prize.

"The contest starts January 2, but you can sign-up two weeks prior," added Mark Bryant, a Wild Wild West supervisor.

While the college basketball contest will run through the end of the regular season, Diamond is not sure how long the quinella contest will last.

"I’ll keep running it, unless I lose my shirt," exclaimed Diamond.

Perfect 15

For the third time this football season, and the second time at a Coast Resort property, a lucky Las Vegas football bettor went 15-for-15 on a parlay card.

After going 13-for-13 on a half-point parley card at The Suncoast last Sunday, an unidentified player saw his card become complete when the Carolina Panthers and the Over came in during the Monday night contest with Green Bay. The $5 ticket is worth a cool $100,000.

"Unlike most players, who leave one game open for Monday, he had two open, so he couldn’t hedge," said Suncoast sports manager Eddie Ricca. "But luck was suited for him though, as he got both sides."

Ricca noted a player came to the counter and said he was holding the ticket, but failed to identify himself. The winner has 60 days to claim his prize.

The Suncoast parlay card displayed exactly 100 options to select from in NCAA and professional football that weekend, but the player ignored the colleges and went exclusively with an all-NFL card.

His Sunday winners included: Tampa Bay, Miami, Philadelphia and the Over, Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Jacksonville, Denver, San Diego (which won its first game of the season in defeating Kansas City), and the New York Giants in the Sunday night affair.

Previously, The Orleans, another Coast Resort property, welcomed a 15-for-15 winner, also worth $100,000, three weeks ago. The other perfect card in the city came from the Fremont in downtown Las Vegas, where a $3 ticket was cashed for $60,000.

Sports Biz

Care about the business of sports?

Check out your local Public Broadcasting station this week for the next episode of CEO Exchange, the award-winning, monthly interview program moderated by CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.

This week, Greenfield interviews a pair of entrepreneurs who are revamping their sports franchises: Daniel Snyder, owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

Snyder is the marketing maven who made his football team the most valuable franchise in sports, while Cuban is the Internet billionaire who co-founded

Topics for discussion include: on being an entrepreneur, the business of sports, gambling and sports, and playing in the big leagues.

To find your local PBS station and the show’s airtime, visit the PBS Station Finder at www.