Circa ups the stakes: a guaranteed $14 million for football contests

And re: "free square" plays that were actually off the board when the contest lines were posted, I wouldn't mind those going off the contest card, too.

Although it's not that big of a deal to me personally because I'm used to dealing with the supposed free square situation as a matter of contest strategy. To me it's not a given that everyone has to pick that square, like they've got a gun to their head. Free squares don't always come in, so it's always a strategic decision to me as to whether to make that play, use something else, or possibly even go the other way because I think that the final market number is just flat wrong due to groupthink. (Although, in that last situation, I'm still more likely to just skip the play and root against the free square play on Sunday -- if I pick a different winner in a situation where everyone and their brother is on the wrong side, I still get a point while the vast majority of the field is getting zip. I don't necessarily have to step in front of a bad market number to get that contest point, even if I think the market has gone bonkers.)

But what has happened in the past when contests have taken the approach of leaving games off the card, then a different cadre of gripers complain that there's not enough games to choose from, especially during bye season.

So from the books' perspective, they get criticized either way they go.

I just roll with whatever way the book handles that situation, in terms of looking for the best strategy in the particular format chosen.

Sometimes the SuperBook is pretty good at forecasting where the line will be. Sometimes not so much, particularly where the real world situation is fluid and markedly changes the number. Sometimes the books that don't include the then off-the-board games wind up with a fairly short contest card for a week.

That all goes into the mix in strategizing while cutting down to five picks before the deadline.

Short of real-time contest lines -- administrated impeccably with no hijinks, like "flash" numbers available only at 2:30 a.m. PT to benefit select customers given the heads up -- the various ways of handling this situation (off-the-board games) as well as the others is just part of the backdrop in which one conducts strategy.

If they cut the off-the-board games, fine. If not, well, OK.

* * * *

Overall, separate and apart from improving contest formats generally, the SuperBook is going to have to do more than incremental rules changes to recapture the momentum that it had in prior years.

I liked the "swarming locusts"imagery, WW. They've really screwed these contests up with so many in-season prizes at the expense of the top money prizes.
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Woodrow Wilson

EOG Dedicated
Since Circa posts a day later than WG, I haven't looked closely at their contest line decisions with bingo square games.

However, it does seem that Jay's WG team is quite accurate regarding how bingo square game lines resettle into the market.


EOG Master
Well draftkings is allowing players to enter a Thursday play and then the other four plays later in their contest this year so the software is out there.

No excuse for this anymore

Woodrow Wilson

EOG Dedicated
With DK, when entering a Thursday, Saturday or games any other day, all 5 plays initially have to be submitted together.

However, since it's all online, players can change the other selections before kickoff or 1 pm Sunday.

It's a nice option to have available, versus the Vegas contests and with my DK entries I do use Thursday games, and often change other picks on or before the Sunday deadline. With my Vegas entries, I only rarely use Thursday games, with the exception being Thanksgiving week.

Feasibly, with DK, you could enter on Thursday evening, 1 Thursday pick, with a 1 Saturday pick, and 3 Sunday picks.

Then anytime before the Saturday pick begins, switch to 4 Sunday picks.

Or enter 2 Saturday picks, and 2 Sunday picks.

Or on Thanksgiving, change to 2 or 3 Turkey picks, drop the Saturday pick, and still have a couple Sunday picks.

This season we have a game scheduled on Black Friday, too.

Or ComptrBob will let us know how many different scenarios may occur for entering DK picks during particular weeks.
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EOG Master
Well draftkings is allowing players to enter a Thursday play and then the other four plays later in their contest this year so the software is out there.

No excuse for this anymore

Of course, the feature of editing/deferring picks is doable, but it isn't worth the cost of recoding and testing.

I'm pretty sure DraftKings software ported to a Nevada regulated environment isn't for sale, so its inconsequential to Circa (and Westgate) that they allow picks to be edited.


EOG Master
Or enter 2 Saturday picks, and 2 Sunday picks.

Or on Thanksgiving, change to 2 or 3 Turkey picks, drop the Saturday pick, and still have a couple Sunday picks.

This season we have a game scheduled on Black Friday, too.

Or ComptrBob will let us know how many different scenarios may occur for entering DK picks during particular weeks.

On Twitter, I made the point that the complexity of these options adds to the cost of recoding and testing. Circa just didn't find it cost effective to worry about the lunatic fringe that wouldn't enter if they couldn't add/edit picks after entry.
. . . . Circa just didn't find it cost effective to worry about the lunatic fringe that wouldn't enter if they couldn't add/edit picks after entry.

In that vein, I think the history of these contests provides some perhaps worthwhile perspective vis-a-vis what the books can, should and/or -- at least likely will -- do in tweaking these contests.

Yes, Circa has been kicking the SuperBook's butt the past few years.

But they've been kicking their butt with basically the same format that the SuperBook has succeeded with for out past I think its three decades now (after adopting that basic format from an earlier contest at the IIRC old Castaways Casino Sportsbook).

That format, in broad brush, is: (a) five side picks a week against a static contest line posted roughly midweek (it's varied between Tuesday and Thursday at various times and/or properties); (b) with the picks going in on Friday or Saturday (similarly has varied at various times and/or properties); and (c) with all five picks going in at the same time if the contestant wants to use a game that kicks before the general selection deadline.

Prior to the Circa Million, multiple contests had come -- and gone -- repeatedly over the decades while the SuperContest chugged along to one extent or another.

And, again, even now, Circa is kicking the SuperBook's butt with that same damn basic format -- just marketed much better than the SuperBook has done these past few years.

The SuperBook (and I think it was Westgate ownership rather than SuperBook management calling the play) picked a very inopportune time to impose a rake when Circa was on the horizon with not only no rake but in fact a guarantee giving the prospect of an overlay.

That and other innovations and aggressive marketing allowed Circa to blow by the SuperBook like, as I said before, Randy Moss in his prime.

But Circa still is doing it with the same basic underlying contest format, which has stood the test of time for over three decades now.

All leading to this point . . .

I submit that casino and sportsbook managers are creatures of experience . . . as to both what has not worked and, in this instance, what has worked over time.

For example, if you want to see a summary of just about every way sportsbooks have fouled up the handling of parlay cards in the past, just flip to the back and read the current parlay card rules. As I understand it, a lot of those rules got to be rules because a sportsbook somewhere in the past screwed up and got tagged. And they made the rule so that it wouldn't happen again.

In this context, they've got over three decades of collective experience with contests telling them that this basic contest format has stood the test of time, at the very least persisting where others failed and currently -- at least at Circa -- off and running guns a blazin' as a marketing promotion.

So, I'm not sanguine that there's a big impetus within the sportsbooks to mess all that much with the underlying format unless and until, either: (a) the popularity of this contest format ebbs substantially on its own (and not just at specifically the SuperBook because Circa is beating them with that same basic format); and/or (b) a disruptive innovator comes in with a markedly different format that in fact -- not just theory or desire -- out-succeeds this format.

Unless and until that happens, I can definitely see a "don't fix what's working" approach being taken by the books.

That's not to say that folks don't have some good ideas as to how the contests can or should be changed.

But again as perspective, it's worthwhile to consider that the books may not be all that eager to depart substantially from a format that has worked for over three decades and is still working in spades for Circa as a promotion.

I've never been a fan of "because we've always done it that way," but here it is worthwhile to look at it from the books' perspective as to how much impetus they feel to adopt some of these changes when they've got a three-decades-long successful format that's still pulling them in (at least over at Circa, and really the SuperContest remains at a fairly high entry level in comparison to past years, just not in comparison to where the Circa Million has gone).

For me, looking specifically at the SuperContest situation, I continue to believe that they will need to go to either a multi-state pool, if legally feasible, and/or a guarantee to regain momentum vis-a-vis Circa.

And I personally would reduce all this in-season prize clutter (those swarming locusts) substantially, but at least Circa doesn't have much impetus to do that so long as their entry counts continue to climb. The SuperBook, in contrast, perhaps might be more open to cutting back on the plethora of in-season prizes because they need to do something to recapture momentum, and just mimicking Circa back (after Circa in large part mimicked the SuperContest) isn't working out well for them so far. Boosting their top prize share back up perhaps might give them some traction in their competition with Circa.

But they both are working with a basic contest format that has survived, and at times flourished, while others have come and gone, for over three decades.
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Well, maybe this is the beginnings -- possibly the initial trial run of the logistics -- for a multi-state pool SuperContest in 2024:

SuperBook Sports@SuperBookSports

You've heard of the World Famous #SuperContest at @SuperBookNV
& now there's SuperContest National... 🏈

✅ Free to play!
✅ 9 NFL Weeks. 45 Free Picks ATS. $10,650 Prize Pool.
✅ Available in AZ, CO, IN, IA, LA, MD, NJ, NC, OH, TN, VA & WV

* * *

Note that this is a free roll and NV is not included in the listed states, such that the jury figuratively still may be out with Nevada Gaming.

But it is promising that maybe the SuperBook is inching toward a money-entry, multi-state pool SuperContest next year. This current offering would allow them to dry run some of the software and other logistics while they're trying to put together regulatory approval in each one of the multiple jurisdictions, including NV, for 2024.
Again, I don't vouch for this source, but he did include a pic of the Circa in-house electronic odds board with the counts for its contests:

Half Price Proxy@halfpriceproxy1

The 3 big contests heading into Labor Day:

#CircaMillion - 3,684
#CircaSurvivor - 6,527
#SuperContest - 960


TYVM Morgan William!!!
Today on VSiN with Mitch/Pauly, Johnny Avello said: Proxies are probably ILLEGAL in Nevada - and he explained why - but that NGC looks the other way because they know how much action these proxies bring in (paraphrasing). Thought that was interesting.
That is an interesting segment, Winky.

This free link should work at least until they run another show:

Avello talks about the DraftKings contests generally starting at about 32:25.

And then they start talking about proxies specifically at about 33:50.

The contests-related discussion appears to wrap (a few seconds after Avello drops off) at about 36:10.

* * * * *

Note that Avello, DraftKings and VSIN (which is owned by DraftKings IIRC) all have a specific interest here in promoting the DraftKings contest offerings, including with Avello encouraging LV residents to sign up for their offerings in Arizona and make a half hour drive over the border and a half hour back each week to put their picks in. (It's close enough that I've given it serious consideration.)

So, there's a bit of an interest there in pumping up the DraftKings contests -- which are in multiple jurisdictions, including Arizona, but don't use proxies -- at the expense of the other books' NV offerings -- which use proxies. (Avello indicated that they don't use proxies because they'd have to get approval in all of the sundry jurisdictions they're in, and it would take just one "no" jurisdiction to throw a wrench in the works vis-a-vis using proxies.)

His discussion about proxies in NV didn't talk in terms of the federal Wire Act. He instead suggested that proxies potentially were not actually legally allowed in NV because NV gaming didn't have a rule explicitly allowing it. And he said, as Winky related, that NV gaming must be just looking the other way.

Interesting brief discussion, but I do note that Avello (who I have tremendous respect for) has an interest in pumping up his non-proxy contest offerings potentially in lieu of the proxy-allowing NV contests, particularly here on the border with AZ. Not at all saying that he's being dishonest or disingenuous or whatever, but I look at it the same way as when I'm listening to a lawyer representing one side of a case (who I also may have tremendous respect for) present an argument. What the lawyer argues may or may not be correct in the final analysis or ultimately carry the day, but he nonetheless has an interest -- for the client -- in the argument that he's presenting, as opposed to being simply a wholly neutral uninvolved speaker.

In all of this discussion, I'm paraphrasing Avello; and I refer you to the video file for his exact words.
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Woodrow Wilson

EOG Dedicated
Proxy @Vegas_Matty tweeted about 20 minutes back that the #SuperContest was "finally about to hit 1,000 entries."

Since I doubt they're going to match last year's 1,598 entries, the 810k guaranteed for mini-contest prizes is going to be well above HALF the prize pool.

Also notable is that a top ten overall finish may not cover the entry fee. SMH

The rest of the prize pool is listed below.

1st 42%
2nd 15%
3rd 8.5%
4th 5.5%
5th 4.2%
6th 3.5%
7th 3%
8th 2.5%
9th 2%
10th 2%
11th 1.5%
12th 1.5%
13th 1.4%
14th 1.2%
15th 1.2%
16-20th 1% each

Woodrow Wilson

EOG Dedicated
I would've entered GN this year, but I'm not going to be in town before the deadline.

Maybe a decent bump with WH vanishing.
Still 10 PM tomorrow, Tuesday 9/5, for the deadline isn't it? Or was there a change? I have this in the rules:

"The deadline to register at the Golden Nugget sports book is Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023 at 10:00PM."
Hot off the Tuley Presses:

Dave Tuley@ViewFromVegas

#SuperContest entries up to 1,070
($1,000 per entry, maximum 7) as of 11 am PT (pick 5 #NFL games a week vs. contest spread); 11 in-season contests; must sign up in person in Nevada @SuperBookNV SuperBookSports;

#SuperContestGold ($5,000 entry, winner-take-all version) is at 74

Woodrow Wilson

EOG Dedicated
@ 1,070 the WG overall first place will receive $109,200 vs. the two 9 - week mini contest winners each receiving $75,000.

2nd place overall $39,000 less than each of the 6 week mini contest winners
3rd place overall $22,100 less than each of the 3 week mini contest winners
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EOG Master
Just signed up for the stations last man standing for nfl and cfb

Clerk told me they have a big overlay in both contests right now. Didn't give me exact numbers so can't report what "big overlay" means


EOG Master
A couple of observations comparing Circa #entries to the last few years (now 25 days until deadline):

Rate of Increase still positive (earlier):
Last year, Millions passed 1711 entries 18 days from deadline.
Last year, Survivor passed 3112 entries 13 days from deadline.

Decelerating growth last year:
Millions increase in 2022 from 2021 was 12.9% down from 23.0% (2021 from 2020).
Survivor increase in 2022 from 2021 was 33.5% down from 65.9% (2021 from 2020).

2023 Rough projection (conservative): Millions 5300, Survivor 8100.

Sep7 5pm PT, 45 hours till deadline for entries, tally M: 4,620. S: 8,193 ($8M guarantee met).

Rough projection based on last year's final 2 days: M: 5.730, S: 9,550.


EOG Master
i predict a regression next yr, especailly with people finally figuring out bet bash is a waste of time and just a circle jerk
Circa Million Entry Deadline: 2PM PT Saturday, September 9

" " " Selection Deadline: 4PM PT Saturdays (can be either via mobile app within NV or in person)

SuperContest Entry Deadline: 3PM PT Saturday, September 9

" " " Selection Deadlines:

Via Mobile App -- 9PM PT Saturdays
In Person -- 11:59 PM PT Saturdays

For all of the above selection deadlines, if you wish to use a game that starts before the general selection deadline, you must put in all 5 picks for the entry before the game kicks.
Well, at least the Gold will at least match, and likely exceed, last year's entry total, which was 80.

Worth taking a shot (to me anyway) at $400K or more in a contest where the winner hit roughly 63.9% last year.

(I account for pushes in percentages differently for contests. The winner had 57.5 contest points. The query to me, for a contest, is what percentage would it take to match that point total. To me, that's distinct from determining a season-long winning percentage at the betting window, where a push has no positive or negative effect outside of returning the bettor's money. I guess if someone wanted to correlate someone's performance to the real world, I'd use the more traditional approach -- i.e., stripping out the pushes and just looking at the win percentage as against the rest of the picks. But it's not the real world; it's a contest. And when I'm doing contest research, I'm looking at what -- equivalent -- percentage it would take to win the contest, basically without pushes, which may or may not happen for a particular contestant during the year. I.e., you can't plan for the pushes in trying to assess how well you functionally may need to do to win, at least as against the winners' contest point totals in past years.)

Note that, in contrast, in 2021, the winner -- in the first 18-week season -- had 62 points in the Gold, which would be equivalent to 68.9% per the above contest equivalent percentage approach.
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More from Dave Tuley:

Dave Tuley@ViewFromVegas

#SuperContest just signed up entry No. 1,215 @SuperBookNV @SuperBookSports;

#SuperContestGold (the $5,000 per entry winner-take-all version) is at 83…pool at $415,000
Couple of hours back -- guess 'round 7PM PT -- Jeffrey Benson, the Circa Sports Director of Operations, posted a pic of the electronic board with the following entry numbers:

Million 4990 ($1,010,000 overlay)

Survivor 8773 (no more overlay)

As noted above, Circa signups run up to 2PM PT Saturday.
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EOG Master
Circa has posted a warning about a serious bug in their contest software (Million and Survivor). This applies to the Contest accounts not betting accounts:

Logging into your Contest Account from different locations can get your account locked out of selection submission. If you have a proxy or group avoid out-of-state logins until your selections have been submitted.


Bells Beer Connoisseur
It’s amazing how they cant make these a live lines contest, or at least update the lines each morning.
Alright, looks like a final tally of 153 entries in the 2023 Golden Nugget Ultimate Football Challenge -- that's the number of entries with selections this morning anyway.

I haven't broken that down as to the resulting prize structure (it's kinda' game on here with football actually underway). But the contest is one of those largely hidden Las Vegas secrets (like Mt. Charleston only a short drive away), coming back last year after a couple of years hiatus (perhaps a brief Covid casualty). A fairly good contest, all things considered.

Sep 9

The @circasports final contest numbers are in. The Million finished with 5,274 entries, an overlay [of] $726,000. The Survivor has 9,267 entries for a winner take all $9,267,000 prize. 2 hours to turn in picks.
Circa Sports@CircaSports

2023 Weekly Contest Routine* 🏈🏆

WED 10am #CircaSurvivor selections open
THU 10am #CircaSportsMillion lines open
SAT 4pm Selections due
SAT 6pm @DerekJStevens and @JeffreyBenson12 talk selections on @VSiNLive

SAT 7pm Selections posted online

*Survivor holiday weeks differ.