While speculation grows over if and when we’ll have college football, the king of American sports seems ready to start on schedule. When the NFL season begins, DraftKings will also be ready to make history.
The sports gaming powerhouse will be the first to offer a paid pick’em pool in multiple states. This year, the million-dollar top prize is up for grabs for residents in New Hampshire and New Jersey, with more states possibly joining by September.
How DraftKings Pick’ Ems Work
Players can buy-in for $1,500 to participate, which involves making 5 picks against the spread in 14 of the first 16 weeks of the season. The season must be at least 12 weeks long to lock in players for the prize pool, which starts at $2 million.
If the season is shortened to 11 weeks or more, all entrant fees will be refunded. While most gamblers know pick’ ems held at casinos or through lotteries, this is a major move towards a truly national contest through the internet and the expansion of sports betting.
“As we move into new jurisdictions, we want those jurisdictions to be able to play in a nationwide contest, that’s our goal” said Johnny Avello, director of DraftKings race and sportsbook operation Monday. “We’re starting with New Jersey and New Hampshire, the first two states on board, and we hope to add more as we move forward.”
That might involve a couple NFL home states like Indiana and Colorado.
Avello believes excluding Week 17 and giving players two “bye” weeks maintains fairness. Also, any player who goes 5-0 in a week gets a free $100 bet. That creates an incentive to stay in even if the first few weeks go poorly.
Payouts will be based on the number of applicants. The top prize and other placings can grow if the pool draws in more players. Last year’s contest had a top prize of $250,000 for the Super Pool Pick’Em with the winner going 51-19.
If successful, DraftKings Sportsbook might start a new trend in the industry. Competitors like FanDuel, PointsBet, and BetMGM is spreading to other states as well and would likely consider starting their own national pools.
That would create more options for players, which means likely bigger pots and possibly lower entrance fees.