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William Hill jumping into big football betting contests
by: Micah Roberts, special to The Social Gambler
As of early Monday morning, official football contest announcements have not been made by anyone in Las Vegas except for the LVH’s legendary Super Contest, but rumors about William Hill’s first foray into the contest market we’ve been hearing about are true.
There’s $600,000 of guaranteed money that will be offered in separate pro and college football contests by the company that bought and merged 164 Leroy’s, Cal-Neva and Lucky’s sports books.
The $500,000 Pro Pick’em Football Contest has a $25 entry fee. It’s a no-points contest picking all games with no point spreads that offers both weekly and season prizes. $21,000 will be awarded in each of the 17 weeks and $41,000 goes to the season winners. The end-of-season grand prize winner will also win a VIP trip for two to London for the 2013 NFL game. As a gift for signing up, they’ll also give each contestant a free $5 parlay card wager.
The College Pick’em Contest has a $100 entry fee with $100,000 in guaranteed prize money at season’s end. Contestants will be required to pick seven games against the point spread each week.
While the two contests don’t match the $2 million Station Casinos offered last season for the Great Giveaway or the $500,000 given away for free in Boyd Gaming’s Pick the Pros contest, it’s still pretty good for a sports book-only operation that has no other means of income other than race and sports.
The two local giants get their return on investment from slot players visiting weekly to play their contest, and while they’re there, most play the slot machines or table games. The additional revenues gained at the William Hill locations, which also include up to 80 additional kiosks on Golden Gaming slot routes (PT’s Pub), will be kept by that individual property.
But the main goal for William Hill is to establish their brand in the market, and that has been accomplished. With so many locations throughout the state, they will easily be the most convenient contest to turn selections in on a weekly basis.
The only real negative to be found with each of the formats is that contestants can sign up for 25 entries. Yes, that’s not a typo, it’s 25 entries.
It’s understandable that William Hill would want to try and recoup as much of the $650,000 guaranteed prize money as they can by allowing so many entries, but what it does in the process is alienate the small player who will feel they have less of a chance against the mega-groups of players who round-robin selections on their cards.
One of the main complaints from other no-points contests over the years has been one person turning in several hundred cards at a time, while the person waiting in line fumes as he has a limit of three. It’s easy to say, “you can do what he does, too,” but it doesn’t work like that in the minds of the average contest player.
There’s a far greater number of people who may not enter William Hill’s contest because of feeling slighted, before it even happens, than those who pony up to get the maximum entries. These contest players have been around the block and are the same people, who as a whole, generate the most traffic and drive the no-points contests.
Regardless of the case, this is still another contest in town with a huge overlay – meaning the prize money exceeds the entry fees – that is too good to pass up.
We’ll recap the contests as all the official rules are posted, hopefully by next week.