08/19/2010 3:17PM

Football contests galore in Las Vegas at all budget levels

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LAS VEGAS – Whether you believe the recession is over or not, the football contest scene here continues to thrive.

Sure, there have been some layoffs. For example, the Challenge at Station Casinos, which used to have a $1,000 entry fee and dropped to $500 last year, and the $250 buy-in Gridiron Gold at Club Cal Neva won’t be held this year. Some prizes have also been lowered in contests over the years, but there is still a contest for every budget.

As reported last week, the M Resort has upgraded its $3,000 buy-in contest to a $100,000 ante, topping the high-end contests that have players pick against the spread (most of the lower-end contests just have players pick games straight-up). The 20-year-old Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest, with its traditional $1,500 entry fee, is the dean of handicapping contests with the second-longest high-end contest now being the 4-year-old $2,500 buy-in South Point contest, which adds the Palms this year as a satellite for contestants to submit their picks.

The accompanying chart (see below) shows contests that have to be entered prior to the season, as well as those that can be entered at any time during the season (especially for Vegas visitors who see that these pay better than their office pools back at home).

◗ The College Challenge at the Leroy’s network of sports books is the biggest NCAA contest with an entry fee of $250. Last year, the contest including the opening weekend of games but this year coincides with the opening weekend of pro football (so as to attract people visiting over Labor Day weekend as well as those signing up for NFL contest at the last minute). Leroy’s also has a $250 Pro Challenge.

◗ For a few years the Station Casinos had the market cornered on survivor/elimination contests with its separate pro and college Last Man Standing offering with $25 entry fees and a guaranteed $75,000 prize in the NFL and $25,000 in the colleges (and a bonus of an extra $100,000 if the same person sweeps both!). But the Wynn Las Vegas has entered the game with the Pro Football Survivor Contest with a guaranteed $100,000 prize. As with the Stations’ pro LMS, contestants pick one NFL game a week and are eliminated with any loss. The differences are the Wynn costs $100 per entry, allowing 10 per person, and it’s a straight-up contest. Another twist is that the Wynn will exclude some games, usually the ones with the highest spreads to make people pick from the more competitive games, starting with one game kept off the card in Week 1 and then two games excluded in Week 2 through 4 and escalating up to eight games off the card in Week 17.

◗ Leroy’s also has a variation of the survivor contest with its $25 buy-in Three N Out, where each entry gets three losses before being eliminated. One contest starts at the beginning of the year and then a separate second-half contest starting on Oct. 24.

◗ The Great Giveaway at Station Casinos, despite its parent company’s recent bankruptcy filings and reorganization attempts, has kept its total purse at $1.4 million in the $25-per-enty contest. That include $100,000 year-long prizes in the “most winners” and “most losers” categories (with the option of a $225,000 house in lieu of the cash) and more than $30,000 in weekly prizes (with the “most winners” champ having choice of $20,000 cash or a Chevy Silverado or Camaro) and deep year-long pay schedules.

◗ The Boyd Gaming properties, including Coast Casinos, used to have more than $1 million in prizes but now is slightly more than $500,000 with $30,000 in weekly prizes and no year-end standings. The good news, though, is that the contest is the only free offering in town (prior to last year, it was at the $25 level). This year, Boyd is moving the contests to self-service kiosks similar to those used at Stations.

 

Season-long contests
with a deadline before
the season starts


Cantor High Stakes Football Contest (M Resort): $100,000 entry fee; limit one entry per person; five entrants must register and pay by noon on Saturday, Sept. 11 or contest will be canceled; proxies are allowed and must sign up with contestant; champion receives 70 percent of prize pool, with 20 percent for second and 10 percent for third; contestants make 5 NFL selections each week against the spread; entrants who pay by Sept. 1 will be eligible for a drawing for a free $5,000 side-and-total parlay on the Super Bowl; deadline to sign up is 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10; weekly selections due by 9 p.m. Fridays; selections won’t be posted until just prior to Sunday morning games.


Friendly Frank’s Pro Championship Challenge (South Point, Palms, Rampart, Cannery, Eastside Cannery and El Cortez in Las Vegas, plus Riverside in Laughlin, Virgin River in Mesquite, and Carson Valley Inn in Minden): $2,500 entry fee; limit two entries per person; contestants pick five NFL games against the spread each week; all games will be half-point lines; only Sunday and Monday games will be used, with a maximum of 15 games on the contest card each week; guaranteed prize pool of at least $250,000, with minimum $100,000 to the winner, $75,000 for second, $50,000 for third, $25,000 for fourth; all entry fees are returned as prize money, so any entries over 100 will increase the prize proportionally; $50,000 bonus to be split by all entrants hitting 65 percent or higher; deadline to enter is noon Saturday, Sept. 11, with entries due each week by 2 p.m. Saturday.


SuperContest (Las Vegas Hilton): $1,500 entry fee; limit two entries per person; proxies are allowed and must sign up with contestant; contestants pick five NFL games against the spread each week; first prize is 40 percent of all entry fees; prizes paid through 20th place; the Hilton also gives an aggregate $10,000 bonus for anyone who picks over 67 percent; everyone signing up by 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 6, will be eligible for a free $10,000 winner-take-all contest on the last three weeks of the regular season; selections due by 11 a.m. Saturday each week, unless playing a Thursday game, then all five plays due before the scheduled kickoff of Thursday’s game; deadline to sign up and get first week’s entry in is 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.


Wynn Pro Football Survivor Contest (Wynn Las Vegas): $100 entry fee, maximum 10 entries per person; must sign up for Red Card; proxies are allowed and must show up with contestant to fill out form; players pick one NFL game each week with no spread; you lose once, you’re out; last person standing wins entire prize pool; guaranteed minimum $100,000 prize; games with highest spreads will be excluded each week (starting with one the first week and escalating during the season); selections must be made on Saturdays by 11:59 p.m. or one hour prior to kickoff of games earlier in the week.


Leroy’s College Challenge (all Leroy’s sports books): $250 entry fee; limit five entries per person; contest lasts 12 weeks using Saturday games only from Sept. 11 through Nov. 27; contestants pick seven college games against the spread (all games are half-points) from a list of as many as 50 games; first prize is 30 percent of all entry fees, which would be $30,000 based on 400 entries, but will adjusted depending on the final number; prizes paid through 40th place; 5 percent of prize pool will go to the winner of a mini-contest over the final four weeks; deadline to sign up is 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10; selections are due by 5 p.m. each Friday.


Leroy’s Pro Challenge (all Leroy’s sports books): $250 entry fee; limit five entries per person; Sunday and Monday NFL games only; contestants pick five NFL games against the spread (all games are half-points); first prize is 30 percent of all entry fees; prizes paid through 40th place; 5 percent of prize pool will go to the winner of a mini-contest over the final four weeks; deadline to sign up is 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11; selections are due by 9 p.m. each Saturday.


Last Man Standing NFL contest (Station Casinos, Fiesta Casinos, Wildfire Casinos): $25 entry fee, buy four get one free; maximum of five entries per person; players pick one NFL game against the spread each week; all spreads will use half-points; you lose once, you’re out; last person standing wins entire prize pool; guaranteed minimum $75,000 prize; in case of a tie, prize money will be split equally; there is also a $100,000 bonus if someone wins both the college and pro Last Man Standing contests; selections must be made each week before the scheduled kickoff time of the game used; deadline to sign up is 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12.


Last Man Standing college contest (Station Casinos, Fiesta Casinos, Wildfire Casinos): $25 entry fee, buy four get one free; maximum of five entries per person; players pick one college game against the spread each week; all spreads will use half-points; you lose once you’re out; last person standing wins entire prize pool; guaranteed minimum $25,000 prize; there is also a $100,000 bonus if someone wins both the college and pro Last Man Standing contests; selections must be made each week before the scheduled kickoff time of the game used; deadline to sign up is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.


Contests that can be
entered at any time
for the weekly prizes


Great Giveaway Football Contest (Station Casinos, Fiesta Casinos, Wildfire Casinos): $25 entry fee; buy two get one free; maximum of three entries per person; contestants pick all NFL Sunday and Monday games only; no point spreads; the person who picks the most winners during the season can choose between $100,000 cash or a $225,000 house; the contestant picking the most losers also wins $100,000 or the house; the top 10 finishers in both the winner’s and loser’s categories win cash prizes, with 11th through 200th places receiving free slot play; late entrants not eligible for season-end prizes but still able to play for weekly prizes such as $20,000 for most winners and $10,000 for most losers; contestant with most weekly winners can instead choose to take a 2011 Chevy Silverado or Camaro 1LS in lieu of the cash prize; weekly tiebreaker is the person closest to the Monday night score without going over (in the event of multiple Monday night games, the last game on the card will be used); the $200,000 “Fiddle in the Middle” prize is split by all those finishing with a .500 record (or one game over or under .500 if there ends up being an odd number of games in the contest); at the end of the season, all players who compete in all 17 weeks on all three contest cards and don’t win a weekly or end-of-season prize will receive their $50 entry fee back in the form of free slot play.


Pigskin Payoff Football Contest (Palms): $25 entry fee; buy three get three free; maximum six entries per person; contestants pick all NFL Sunday and Monday games only; no point spreads; $300,000 total prize pool; $10,000 to overall winner, paying to 100th place; contestant must submit card every week to be eligible for season-long prizes; $10,000 in weekly prizes with $7,500 to the winner (Monday night tiebreaker, if necessary) each week with $2,500 split evenly by those who tie for second; those who enter by Friday, Sept. 3 receive $10 in free slot play; two $500 second-chance drawings held in the sports book each Monday night for losing tickets; added this year is a “Best of the Pack” prize with $10,000 going to the person with the best record in Weeks 1-4, 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16 and $10,000 split among the runners-up in each pack; selections due by 9 a.m. each Sunday.


Pro Pick-em (all Club Cal Neva books, including Binion’s, Tuscany and Four Queens in Las Vegas): $25 entry fee; limit 10 entries per person; contestants pick all NFL Sunday and Monday games; no point spreads; $25,000 to overall winner and paid down to fifth place; $3,000 for least winners picked; weekly prize of $7,500 for most winners and $1,000 for least winners; entry fee decreased by $5 each month into the season for late entrants, but only those signing up by 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, are eligible for season-long prizes; selections due by 10 a.m. each Sunday.


College Pick-em (all Club Cal Neva books, including Binion’s, Tuscany and Four Queens in Las Vegas): $20 entry fee, but only $15 if coupled with a pro contest entry for a total of $40; limit 10 entries per person; contestants play all 10 games on weekly contest card; no point spreads; $3,500 for the season-long winner and paid down to fifth place; $3,000 weekly prize for most winners and $500 for most losers; selections due by 9 a.m. each Saturday.


Pick the Pros Football Contest (Boyd Gaming properties, including Coast Casinos): no entry fee; must join Club Coast, Prime Rewards Club, or Players Gold Club; all members will be given three entries each week; up to two bonus entries for those on higher players’s club levels; all entries made a self-service kiosks; Sunday and Monday NFL games only (maximum of 15 per week); no season-long prizes; $30,000 in weekly prizes with guaranteed $10,000 to the top winner (using Monday night tiebreaker if necessary); complete rules not available at press-time; entries expected to start being taken at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24, or when kiosks are operational; selections are due by kickoff of Sunday’s first game each week.


Progressive Carryover Pro Football Contest (Lucky’s sports books in Nevada ): technically not a contest but a “pool” with $5 entry fee per card; NFL Sunday and Monday games only; no spreads; guaranteed $10,000 aggregate prize to winner going 16-for-16; when there aren’t 16 games, totals will be used; if no one has a perfect card, no prize will be awarded and 70 percent of entry fees will be added as a carryover the following week with 30 percent going into a secondary jackpot; if the Week 17 jackpot is not won, it will carry over into the playoffs; full details at betatluckys.com.