‘Magic’ Awaits NJ Bettors at DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship in Weehawken

New Jersey gamblers have a rare multi-play option in DraftKings’ recently-announced Sports Betting National Championship Nov. 5-7.

Like all the participants in this 11-state wagering summit, New Jersey patrons can:

  • Pay the $10,000 entry fee.
  • Stalk the $1 million top prize and a portion of the $2 million overall prize pool by gambling in this NBA, NFL and college football tournament format.
  • Wager on their preferred device.

They also have a gambling avenue most others don’t.

They can go to the event, and compete live.

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Details on DraftKings NJ sports betting national championship

The Sports Betting Championship unfolds at the EnVue Hotel in Weehawken. Garden State Gamblers who wish to make the drive, a privilege shared by very few players (perhaps their Pennsylvania brethren and New Yorkers crossing into New Jersey) can make a one-day or weekend journey to obtain an exclusive benefit: the live feel.

Savvy technical people will not mind that there are no tellers and customers are responsible to place their bets on their own devices. They’ll accept that responsibility for ambiance, the sense of fraternity and the chance to see their names posted on an in-house leaderboard.

“You will be in a great atmosphere, which is set up like a sportsbook,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Play NJ. “There is food and drink all day. There may be some celebrities in the crowd. You get to be around others who are probably part of the contest.

“The hotel is literally right across the Hudson River from New York City. The views and the skyline are fantastic. It is a really cool place to hang out.

“I hope people come to the venue. If you put 10 G’s into action, you might as well come out and play.”

Now a national attraction

In 2019, gamblers had no other choice. The event launched in New Jersey and a physical presence was required. Although it wasn’t tabulated, many New York gamblers came in to play. They will do it again.

DraftKings has enlarged the scope of the championship, seeking to make it a national attraction. Coming to the event is no longer a requirement for most to participate.

But for those who can, there’s a certain magic.

Gamblers saw the forerunner of this several years ago, when fantasy football owners jammed into Atlantic City convention-sized rooms by the hundreds for their pre-season draft. They wore jerseys with players’ names, milled around with fellow fantasy GM’s and conducted a networking nirvana.

The rooms had a buzz and a vibe that can only be experienced live.

This dynamic existed well before legalized sports wagering arrived. It has been enhanced with the innovation of mobile apps and tablets, giving gamblers the best of both worlds: live passion combined with the ability to run one’s own handheld sportsbook.

Here are some important things to know about the Sports Betting Championship.

National championship payouts

Besides the $1 million top honor:

  • Second place: $250,000
  • Third place: $125,000
  • Fourth place: $100,000
  • Fifth place: $75,000
  • Sixth place: $60,000
  • Seventh place: $50,000
  • Eighth place: $40,000
  • Ninth place: $30,000
  • Tenth: $25,000

Other plateaus:

  • 15h place: $20,000
  • 20th place: $15,000
  • 21st-25th place: $10,000

Contest rules

Each contestant will be provided a designated tournament account

Go to [email protected] if you want to participate.

Each contestant’s fee places $5,000 into the prize pool and $4,500 into a gambling bankroll.

Players with the highest bankrolls at the end of the tournament will share the leaderboard prizes.

All players take home their final bankroll. A gambler investing $10,000 and finishing with a bankroll of $30,000, for example, may not hit the leaderboard but will pocket $20,000 in real profit.

Gamblers can see the bets of their nearest rivals posted on the leaderboards, once action begins on a given event.

What bets are fair game?

There is no in-game wagering. But there is some good flexibility on what’s allowed: teasers, parlays, alternate lines, even most player props. This is interesting because it creates some possible longshot collections that can alter the leaderboard.

Hockey was in the 2019 format. It’s not now. But Avello indicated that a number of sports may eventually have their own individual contests similar to the Sports Betting Championship. The idea would then be to assemble the winners in a tournament-of-champions type arrangement.

All bets on Sunday’s final day must be made by 1 p.m. ET. This was different than in 2019, when wagers could be made right up until the start of the final game.

But the logistics of numerous states and a possible discrepancy of whether a late bet was placed in time produced the earlier deadline. The early deadline allows officials to process the bets.

Gamblers can wager on everything including the Tennessee Titans-Los Angeles Rams Sunday Night Football game at 8:20 p.m. ET and the Charlotte Hornets-Los Angeles Clippers NBA contest at 9 p.m. ET. The NBA contest is the final event to start.

But bets must be made by 1 p.m.

That leads to an interesting category…

What strategies will prove best?

They may exist by the hundreds. Because the field grew from one state to 11, there is no precedent for a handicapper to trust. It’s not known what amount in a bankroll is enough to win.

The link between one year’s championship and the next will become solid once the number of participating states is the same in consecutive tournaments. DraftKings is still expanding, so that might not happen for at least a couple of years.

Some elements are constant, however. It’s not likely that someone will run out the clock with small wagers on the final day.

Another consistent element in any tournament is the need to specialize.

“The strategies will be interesting to watch,” Avello said. “It’s going to be whatever way you need to get there to beat the field.

“There are so many different ways the players can go. Do you try to build you bankroll and then take maybe 40, 50 or 60 grand and unload it all on one game?

“You have to bet what you know. There are not that many events. Are you strong in all three sports or do you have to go more heavily on one of them? How much do you have to cross over?”

The winner also qualifies for the tournament of champions, to be announced later for 2022. That event will assemble winners in the DFS, Sportsbook and Casino realms to compete for a $1 million top prize.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.