Thanks to the attraction of legal sports wagering, The Super Bowl and opening round of the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament bring tens of thousands of people to Las Vegas, annually for one big weekend. On a smaller scale but still extremely popular in bringing sports betting enthusiasts to town, is the Sixth Annual SuperContest Weekend kicking off this Thursday, and continuing through Saturday at The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
The SuperContest, which costs $1,500 to enter and requires bettors to pick five games against the spread for all 17 weeks of the NFL season, drew an all-time high 1,854 entries last season. 32-year-old Damon Graham won more than $900,000 in what is largely considered the world’s most prestigious football handicapping contest.
Veteran bookmaker Jay Kornegay, Vice President of Race and Sports Operations at the Superbook, believes this year’s field will draw more than 2,000 entries, and is hoping to have the contest’s first-ever million-dollar payout to the winner. Approaching its 28th season, the SuperContest is looking at its eighth consecutive record-setting year for entries and payouts.
“It’s really a tribute to the popularity that it’s survived all the challenges over the past couple of decades,” Kornegay said. “There have been so many other contests that have tried to emulate the SuperContest, and there is only one left standing.”
“What we’re looking at is one of the best kickoff events prior to any season. We have a lot of handicappers, a lot of who’s who in the sports gaming world, who will all be here,” Kornegay continued. “It’s a great event because you get to meet a lot of people in the industry and this year, with the inclusion of VSiN, it takes the kickoff weekend to another level.”
VSiN, (Vegas Stats & Information Network) the first radio station dedicated solely to sports gaming, will broadcast several of its shows from The Westgate SuperBook during SuperContest Weekend, and will continue to do so with remote broadcasts throughout the football season. The face of VSiN, longtime sports broadcaster Brent Musburger, will broadcast his daily show live from the SuperBook Thursday through Saturday. Musburger said he is excited to bring the entities together, while providing national coverage of the SuperContest Weekend and contest on SiriusXM radio.
“It seemed like a good opportunity for both VSiN and the SuperContest to grow together and that’s how this all came about,” Musburger said. “I think gambling on games is one of the significant reasons the NFL became the No. 1 sport in this country. I believe that gambling on the outcome of the game, I think it adds to the enjoyment to the game.”
Longtime Las Vegas sports-talk host Mitch Moss has seen the growth of the contest first hand. While the number of entrants amazes him, he isn’t surprised by it one bit due to the popularity of sports betting on NFL games, and because of how well the contest is run by Kornegay’s team.
“I remember when they used to get 375, then over 400 and 500 entries,” said Moss, who will also broadcast live from The Westgate during the SuperContest Weekend festivities on Thursday and Friday. “They do such a good job of getting the word out. It’s amazing to see the growth of this contest. The ceiling for it is much bigger than what is today, too. The Westgate SuperContest could be as big as the World Series Poker.”
Moss said the marriage between SuperContest Weekend, the contest itself, and VSiN is “a perfect combination,” with the first-ever network dedicated to sports gambling tied into the most famous football handicapping challenge.
The top 50 finishers in the SuperContest will win cash. Non-Nevada residents are eligible to participate by using a proxy to enter weekly selections and this year a SuperContest Gold Winner-Take-All contest has been added. The Gold contest carries a $5,000 price tag, with the same rules for picking games applied. A 100 percent payout to the winner is guaranteed.
Audi Henderson has pledged to donate a car for a Hole-in-One contest at the Super Golf tournament taking place on the Saturday of SuperContest Weekend at Las Vegas Country Club. Six free SuperContest entries will be given away, one as a prize for Closest to The Pin on one of the holes at the golf tournament, and five via raffle – one on Friday and four on Saturday.
“Whether you’re a seasoned player or just a beginner, this is a weekend you don’t want to miss,” Kornegay said.
Those interested in complete details can go to WestgateVegas.com or visit the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.