The first annual Circa Sports Million football handicapping contest exceeded all expectations, so the newest local sports book operator is doubling the guarantee for next year’s iteration.
Circa Sports owner Derek Stevens will announce plans for Circa Sports Million II this morning, which include a $3 million guaranteed prize pool.
“We had such an incredible turnout for the very first Circa Sports Million Pro Football Contest that we had to keep the fun going,” Stevens said in a statement. “From game-day wagering to season-long competitions, we are excited to continue to offer unique betting opportunities to players across the country.”
The contest requires entrants who pay a $1,000 buy-in to pick five NFL games against the spread per week. It will remain rake-free, meaning 100 percent of the money is paid back to the players.
Upping the promise to $3 million is another gamble from Stevens, who turned heads last year when he announced a guaranteed $1.5 million prize pool. Many forecasted an overlay — more money put up by the house than contestants would generate by entering — but Circa easily eclipsed the 1,500 threshold to match its guarantee.
The first Circa Sports Million drew 1,875 entrants with Isaac Meier, a 34-year-old portfolio manager from Los Angeles, eventually claiming the season-long first-place $1 million prize. The grand prize is again set at $1 million but payouts are increasing in other areas.
The top 50 finishers will make the money next season, as opposed to only the top 10 last year. Circa is also promising $250,000 quarterly prizes, an uptick from $125,000 in the inaugural contest.
Players can sign up starting on Friday, March 6, at either the D Las Vegas or the Golden Gate, and it won’t be the only Circa contest available to enter.
The sports book will also unveil a new $1,000 buy-in Circa Survivor contest next season with yet another guaranteed $1 million first-place prize. Contestants will have to pick one winner each week of the NFL season in addition to on Thanksgiving Day, which will stand on its own in the competition.
The contestant with the last remaining undefeated record will win the seven-figure prize, and if he or she can go 18-0, Circa will throw in an extra $1 million bonus.
It makes sense that Circa wants to go big in 2020 with its promotions considering Stevens’ resort of the same name is slated to open at the intersection of Main and Fremont streets in December. Sports betting will be a primary draw of Circa Las Vegas with Stevens planning the world’s largest sports book on the premises.