The Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest is on pace to have another record-breaking year – and a second $1 million winner. The 29-year-old contest continues to see rapid growth and as of late last week, according to Westgate’s Vice President Race & Sports Operations, Jay Kornegay, the SuperContest and SuperContest Gold are on pace to attract a record number of entrants.
Last year, the winner, whose handle was ‘Grannys Boy’ won $1.3 million by beating 2,747 other entrants to walk away with the grand prize. He had a 72 percent winning percentage and followed a barista who won $905,000 and took the bus to the Westgate to collect his winnings in 2016. As of Sept. 2, 2,500 entrants had registered for the SuperContest, ahead of last year’s pace,.
The two-year-old SuperContest Gold had 81 contestants in 2017, and as of Sept. 2, 94 are registered for 2018. Kornegay estimates there will be 100 or more participants.
Sports Betting SuperContest Saw a Huge Boom With the Advent of Social Media.
#SuperContest hits 2,500! Earlybird ends Monday Sept 3rd at 4pm. Final deadline on Saturday Sept 8 at 11am. We’re about 400 ahead of last years record pace. 👍
— LVSuperBook (@LVSuperBook) September 2, 2018
The SuperContest, which dates back to 1989, started off a local competition among Las Vegas handicappers to see who was the best. About 200-300 people participated for the first 20 years of the contest, but then social media blossomed and along with it the SuperContest.
“The spike in interest is really correlated with social media coming into our lives,” Kornegay said. “We didn’t used to be able to advertise in Chicago or New York, but social media did that for us. It was able to spread the word to other football fans across the country that you didn’t need to be a Nevada resident to enter a Las Vegas, high-level football contest. Most of the growth has been out of state.”
Since 2011, the contest has grown steadily, from 517 entrants in 2011, to 745 in 2012, 1,034 in 2013, 1,403 in 2014, 1,727 in 2015, 1,854 in 2016 and 2,748 last year.
Out-of-state participants can use a proxy to file picks each week of the contest, so participants don’t have to show up at the Westgate SuperBook personally each week. According to contest rules, both the entrant and the proxy must register in person for the contest, but the proxy can deliver picks each week.
Participants pay a $1,500 entry fee for the right to pick five winners against the spread each week of the regular NFL season. The top 100 finishers receive some sort of cash payout and there are opportunities throughout the season – after four games and after Week 8, and for the final three weeks of the season. Winners of each mini contest will receive $15,000. Prize money is calculated based on the number of entries, less a $120 administrative fee per entry.
The “Gold” version of the contest follows the same format, but requires a $5,000 entry fee and is winner take all.
Best Handicapper Not Only Wins More Than $1 Million, But Gets a Super Bowl-Style Ring as Top Sports Bettor.
— Brady Kannon (@lasvegasgolfer) August 26, 2018
In an effort to start a new tradition, contest winners have been awarded rings, similar to Super Bowl or World Series rings. Kornegay said the rings, which are personalized with the winner’s name, alias, record and the year, were handed out to winners dating back to 2005 at a ceremony in August.
Early registration for the SuperContest and SuperContest Gold passed on Labor Day, but prospective participants have until 11 a.m. on Sept. 8 to register and provide their Week 1 selections. The NFL season officially opens on Thursday night when the Atlanta Falcons play at the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, but the first Sunday of the season is Sept. 9. Thirteen games are scheduled, followed by two Monday Night Football games – the New York Jets at Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams at the Oakland Raiders – on Sept. 10.
While the Las Vegas version of the SuperContest attracts players from across the country, some of those same players will soon be able to enter a SuperContest closer to home. The ‘SuperBook’ brand is going on the road, expanding outside of Las Vegas in the near future as more and more states legalize sports betting, Kornegay said, and with the expansion will be more SuperContests.