The biggest pro football handicapping contest in the world will no longer pay back 100 percent of entry fees, as the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook will take a new eight percent administrative fee or “rake” to pay for running the SuperContest. That will make the possibility of a $1 million winner in 2016 a little more challenging considering 2,071 entries will now be needed to hit that goal, up from 1,905 previously.
While many have criticized the move publicly through social media channels after the SuperBook announced the news last Friday, it should not be too surprising. SuperContest sign-ups begin on July 1 and are ongoing through September 10 at 11am PT, which is the day before most of the games kick off in Week 1 of the NFL season. The SuperContest involves picking five NFL sides against the spread each week based on static betting lines released by the SuperBook every Wednesday.
Last year, the Westgate awarded $906,675 for first place to Rounding Again after scoring 60.5 of a possible 85 points over the 17-week NFL season. One point is earned for every win and a half-point for a push. Contestants who want to sign up need to do so in person at the SuperBook and pay a $1,500 entry fee. If they are unable to submit their picks in person on a weekly basis, they can hire a proxy to do that for them as well.
The SuperBook has seen the number of entries in the SuperContest rise rapidly over the previous six years from 345 in 2010, justifying the need for an admin fee to cover the costs of personnel who must assist with registering each contestant individually. The Westgate also hosts an event called SuperContest Weekend – this year it will be August 26 and 27 – that features a handicapping seminar, golf outing and raffle, with six free entries up for grabs to those who are present for the drawing.
Another change for the 2016 SuperContest is a new three percent surcharge for using credit cards to pay for the entry fee. Previously, contestants could use their credit card to pay their entry fee at no charge with the Westgate footing the bill. Contestants can also pay their entry fee with cash, personal check, cashier’s check or money order.
On a positive note, contestants will see a couple of increased payouts for the 2016 SuperContest with the addition of the admin fee. Those who sign up by the early-bird deadline of September 5 at 4pm are eligible for the Mini Contest, which takes place over the last three weeks of the season. The winner-take-all Mini Contest used to pay $15,000 to the winner and will now award $20,000 thanks to money pulled from the admin fee.
The same goes for any contestant who hits 67 percent during the season. The prize pool will be $20,000 rather than $15,000 and split between all who hit that number. The SuperContest is open to anybody 21 years or older with a valid photo ID.