It’s that time of year again; football is near with plenty of great football contests being offered at several Las Vegas sportsbooks. There’s a contest for all budgets including a couple local joints that are giving away $1.26 million just for walking through their doors a couple times during the fall.
Here’s a look at what’s being offered around town:
The SuperContest is the most prestigious sports handicapping competition in the world. For $1,500 and a hot run over 17 weeks of NFL action, you can take home some serious cash and be placed in another category of respect in town. It’s similar to winning a bracelet in the World Series of Poker except this is much harder to win.
“So far we have 296 signed up already, which we’re very happy with considering on the same date last season we only had 196 entries,” said SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “And last year ended up being a record year for entries for the seventh consecutive year.”
The rules are pretty simple. Contestants pick five NFL sides against-the-spread (no totals) each week and whoever has the most wins takes the top prize. The top-50 finishers get paid out.
Last season’s winner was paid a record $905,482, beating out 1,853 other contestants. Kornegay’s goal this year is to get 2,071 entries so he can hand over a $1 million check to the winner.
This year Kornegay is trying something new called SuperContest Gold, using the same rules, only the entry fee is $5,000 and it’s winner take all.
“We were thinking we’d get about 40 people to sign up for SuperContest Gold,” Kornegay said. “We have nine signed up so far, but we’re expecting most of the participants to be very sophisticated and sign up at the last moment.”
Kornegay kicks off a contest better than anyone has ever done in Las Vegas history by offering a party to anyone who wants to attend. It’s called SuperContest Weekend and it’s happening Aug. 17-19 in one of the resort’s ballrooms. There is a free seminar with dozens of handicappers offering their opinions on the upcoming pro and college football season along with a golf tournament anyone can enter. Also, six $1,500 entries into the SuperContest will be given away.
Pick The Pros is the longest running contest in Las Vegas. It first began at Michael Gaughan’s Barbary Coast (now the Cromwell) in 1979. Gaughan realized that all areas of his casino thrived during football season and a contest with weekly and end-of-season prizes would ensure at least one visit a week from the locals when they got off work from nearby Strip properties. He was right, and several other casinos followed his lead. In 2017, it can now be played at Sam’s Town, the Orleans, Suncoast and Gold Coast. It remains one of the best values in town just because it’s free.
It’s all about picking weekly NFL winners straight-up with no pointspreads. There’s no season long prize anymore, but they are giving away $30,000 a week to those that pick the most winners, with $10,000 guaranteed to at least one winner if there are several contestants tied. Anyone over 21 can play and three entries will be awarded. If you’re an Emerald Player in their slot club they’ll give you five entries. It doesn’t get any cheaper than free. That’s a total of $510,000 just for visiting during football season.
The Gridiron Challenge is a free weekly NFL contest (no pointspreads) giving away $750,000. The contest is their marketing tool and it’s been the bread and butter promotion during the fall dating back to the 1980’s when it used to be called the Great Giveaway. This is a must play just because it’s free.
Think of all the cheap things that used be offered in Las Vegas like 99-cent breakfasts, $1.99 buffets, 50-cent beers and shrimp cocktails. They were attempting to gain our business and have us make return visits. But corporate Las Vegas keeps taking things away from us, raising prices, offering smaller portions, and they’re even charging for parking now.
The College Football Clash is new for the 18 sportsbooks across the valley. It’s all about picking winners straight-up – no spreads – among their selected weekly games. Entry is free and they give away $500 in weekly prizes. The Grand Prize for doing the best from start to finish is an all-expense paid trip for two to the Rose Bowl.
The Last Man Standing pro contest is good because of the mounting intensity as the weeks wind down. You pick one game against-the-spread a week. If you lose, you’re entry is finished. If you win, you move on to the next week, and so on. It costs $25 to enter and buying four gets you one more for free. There is $75,000 guaranteed to the winner, or the last person standing, but the prize is always much higher because they return 100 percent of all entry fees.
The Last Man Standing college version is like the pro version except the guarantee is $40,000. The actual prize is always higher. Playing both contests earns you an extra $135,000 bonus if you win.
The Jackpot Contest Card competition lasts for only one week but over $25,000 is up for grabs for a $5 entry fee. They list the 15 games from Week 1 of the NFL on a contest card (which is already available at the sportsbook) and then you pick the winner of each game straight-up, no pointspread. Enter as many times as you like. All entry fees exceeding $25,000 are returned to the prize pool. It’s a fun cheap way to spend $5 and have a legitimate chance at winning a quick $25,000 with one weekend of action.
The Friday Football Showdown is a fun contest with so many layers of goodness that mimic a real football season. There’s a regular season for the first 12 weeks of the NFL and then the playoffs start with the top-16 performers advancing in a bracket format. Week by week the final handicappers go head-to-head and start eliminating each other. What elevates this contest to being really unique is contestants can choose pointspreads and totals among their seven weekly selections for both pro and college football games. The entry fee is $2,000 and usually brings in the most serious of handicappers.
The College Football Pick’em Contest costs $500 to enter. Select seven college football games against-the-spread for 10 weeks (Sept. 8-Nov. 11) among the 25 offered on their contest card. They’ll permit each contestant to have up to four entries and guarantee $75,000. Expect the prize to be higher with entry fees exceeding the guarantee. The top-10 finishers figure in the pay structure. The most attractive part of the contest, besides being a semi-high-end college football contest, is the convenience of it all with 108 locations around the state to turn in the selections.