Good Value Found in Football Contests

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Casino football contests represent an excellent gambling opportunity since you can enter for a low (or no) cost to get a season’s worth of action and a chance at a monster payday. This year again, the big dogs will play the Golden Nugget and Westgate, with entry fees of $2,000 and $1,500, respectively. Those are nice, but there are other options better suited to the casual player.

Of the other pay contests, the best is Aliante’s $25 Airin’ It Out Football Contest. With $100,000 in prizes guaranteed, it needs 4,000 entries to reach even equity (the point where the money collected equals the prize money). Aliante’s way-out location on the north side makes it too inconvenient for most; hence, this one is pretty much a lock to be undersubscribed, offering a theoretical advantage to all who play it.

Having an advantage is guaranteed when you play a free contest, and the biggest news this year is Station Casinos’ switch from the $25-entry-fee Great Giveaway to the free Gridiron Glory. Each week there’s $10,000 up for grabs, but the bigger value is in “instant prizes” that will be awarded throughout the season for scoring “touchdowns” that are attached to your win total. There’s no way yet to know definitively, but I estimate that your first touchdown will be accomplished after 2-4 weeks of play, at which point you’ll win something (free-play, bonus points, comps). And everyone who plays all 17 weeks or scores four touchdowns will be eligible for two additional post-season contests with a combined $100,000 in additional prizes.

One of my favorites, the free Pick the Pros contest, is back at the Boyd casinos. Aside from the price being right, it’s easy to play and you can win some serious coin if you pop a big card. An important change this year is that they’ve gone back to giving everyone three free entries after allowing only one last year. It doesn’t have a big effect on your chances, because everyone gets the extra shots, but it gives you two more cards to sweat, thus enhancing the entertainment factor. It’s a winner-take-all format and there’s a lot of competition, so you’ll usually have to go perfect to win, but with a $30,000 prize on the line every week, just getting close will get the juices flowing.

The Rampart’s free contest is also interesting in that the majority of the weekly prize is split among players who outperform “Eddie,” the sports book director (how hard can that be?). Silver Sevens, Hard Rock, Ellis Island Casino and Aliante also have weekly kiosk contests with varying value. The important thing is they’re all free to play. I’m not telling you to run around to each one every week, but if you’re in the casino, put in a ticket.

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and

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