While some uncertainty exists about the NFL’s ability to carry out its season due to COVID-19 risks, Pennsylvania’s Rush Street Interactive sites are giving customers an August incentive to count on the games being played.
BetRivers and PlaySugarhouse are offering discounts on early entries into their second annual “$500,000 Pennsylvania Pick ‘Em” contest, from which the top winner will emerge with at least $125,000.
The sites announced that until Aug. 31, the entry fee will be $100. In the week after that, it will increase to $125. And for those entering between Sept. 8 and Sept. 13, which is scheduled to be the first Sunday of the NFL season, the normal fee of $150 will apply.
Participants can begin selecting their winners on Sept. 8. No point spreads are used — you just pick game winners. Entrants must be in Pennsylvania to sign up and to submit their picks each week.
No vig in this contest
Although last year’s $125,000 winner used only one entry sheet, players can purchase up to 25 entries per site at pa.betrivers.com/500papickem or pa.playsugarhouse.com/500papickem.
Participants are asked to pick the winners of both Sunday and Monday games throughout the season. The person correctly picking the most games wins $125,000, and 499 others also receive prizes from among the $500,000 payout pool (which could go higher, if more than that is received in entry fees). In addition, the top weekly scorer on each site receives $2,500.
“All of the money collected goes directly into the prize pool, resulting in an unparalleled 100% payback rate on all entry fees,” according to a Rush Street press release. “In addition, the entrant with the most incorrect picks throughout the season will receive a $2,500 payout.”
Naturally these days, there’s a coronavirus catch
The sportsbook operator is not oblivious to how coronavirus concerns could affect the NFL season, and thus its contest.
The press release noted: “In the event that the NFL regular season is shortened to nine weeks or fewer, all entries will be refunded, and no additional prizes will be paid.”
In addition, if the NFL plays at least nine weeks but fails to complete a full regular season, the contest “will be adjudicated based on the point totals at the end of the shortened season.”
The sportsbook, however, doesn’t want to see a shortened season any more than does the NFL itself or football fans and bettors across the nation. NFL games attract more betting than anything else on the sports calendar, and sportsbooks that lost substantial revenue due to COVID-related sports shutdowns in the spring are hoping to make some of that money back in the fall.
While the pick ‘em contest won’t be directly profitable for the two Rush Street sites, considering all entry fees go back out as prizes, such contests can stir a lot of additional interest among bettors.
“This contest was largely successful last season, and we look forward to giving sports bettors a thrilling way to get in on the game action for the second year in a row,” said Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive.
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