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Circa increases multimillion guarantee for NFL handicapping contests

Updated May 23, 2024 - 8:30 am

Circa Sports is raising the stakes again on its NFL handicapping contests.

After increasing the guaranteed prize money for its Circa Survivor and Circa Million contests from an unprecedented $12 million in 2022 to $14 million last year, the downtown sportsbook is shattering its own record again this season, sweetening the pot to $16 million.

The $1,000 entry Survivor will feature a $10 million guaranteed payout — up from $8 million last season — and the $1,000 entry Million VI will again feature $6 million in guaranteed payouts. There is no rake, or house cut, in either contest; all entry fees go into the prize pool.

The Survivor contest will need 10,000 entries to meet the guarantee, and Million VI will need 6,000 entries to meet the guarantee.

Last year, Circa Survivor beat its $8 million guarantee with 9,267 entries for a $9,267,000 prize.

“It went over the guarantee by $1.2 million last year, so we felt we could up the guarantee in Circa Survivor from $8 million to $10 million,” Circa owner Derek Stevens said. “It’s the biggest guarantee in any football contest ever.”

Circa Million V fell short of the $6 million guarantee with 5,274 entries. That resulted in a $726,000 overlay for bettors that was paid for by the sportsbook a year after it covered a $1.3 million overlay in the contest.

“We still think the most unbelievable value you can get is in Circa Million. The last two years we’ve had an overlay, so that’s where the value has been,” Stevens said. “We continue to grow that so we don’t have as big of an overlay as we had a couple years ago.”

Circa also paid $1.92 million in 2021 to cover an overlay in Survivor and has shelled out almost $4 million the last three years to cover overlays.

“We’d prefer not to have to meet a guarantee. We would prefer to just grow the market so that it gets covered,” Stevens said. “We’re pretty hopeful that we can do that in both football contests.

“We’re doing this in a way to help develop the market, to really let everybody know that we think Las Vegas is the epicenter for football contests and to drive some tourism.”

Survivor contestants pick one straight-up NFL winner — no point spread involved — each week but can use each team only once.

Million contestants make five NFL picks against the spread each week.

The maximum amount of entries allowed in Survivor is 10, and the limit in Million is five.

In Survivor, contestants can purchase up to 10 additional entries if they lose their original entries on either the Chiefs-Ravens NFL season opener on Thursday, Sept. 5, or the Eagles-Packers game in Brazil on Friday, Sept. 6. An entrant cannot go into the Saturday deadline with more than 10 active entries.

Four entries went 20-0 last season (NFL Weeks 1 through 18, plus Thanksgiving/Black Friday and Christmas) to split the $9.26 million in prizes in Circa Survivor.

With Christmas falling on a Wednesday this year, the separate contest week will include the Christmas Day doubleheader and the “Thursday Night Football” game Dec. 26.

The Circa Million VI winner is guaranteed $1 million, along with a Circa Sports blue jacket.

Places two through 100 will be paid a total of $3.65 million. There will be $1.2 million in quarterly prizes awarded. The last-place “booby prize” will receive $100,000, and the next-to-last-place booby prize will receive $50,000.

Last season’s Circa Million V champion finished 62-27-1 against the spread (69.6 percent), while the booby prize winner went 29-60-1 ATS (32.6 percent)

Registration starts at 9 a.m. Friday. Sign-ups and entries can be made at Circa, the D Las Vegas, Tuscany, The Pass, Silverton and Legends Bay.

People outside Nevada can enter the contests and have their weekly selections made through a proxy.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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