Circa Sports Grapples With $3.5 Million Overlay Ahead of NFL Contests Deadline


As the deadline for the Circa Million and Circa Survivor football contests swiftly approaches this Saturday, the operator is bracing itself for an overlay of a whopping $3.5 million. This striking figure illustrates the gap by which Circa Sports, based in downtown Las Vegas, must account for to ensure the prize pools for its well-attended NFL picks contests hit a grand total of $14 million. This total is split between the Survivor contest, which accounts for $8 million, and Million, which holds a $6 million share.

At the dawn of this week, the casino and sportsbook operator was faced with a Survivor contest overlay of $1.3 million and a substantial Circas Million overlay of $2.2 million. As of yesterday, the Survivor pool stood at 6,696 entrants, with the Circa Million tallying a lower number at 3,784. However, these already impressive numbers are anticipated to augment as the week progresses and the unavoidable deadline looms, likely reducing the size of the overlays.

The anticipation builds as the 2023 NFL season is set to commence on Thursday, when the Detroit Lions will face the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs, in their hometown of Kansas City. A full rota of NFL games to follow on Sunday emphasizes the urgency of the Saturday entry deadline for the Circa contests.

Recalling the previous year, Circa, who does not receive any direct revenue from the contests, was confronted with a $3.2 million overlay. Despite this, they successfully attracted over 6000 contestants to the Survivor contest, and a further 4,691 participants to Million.

The final amount of the Survivor prize pool is dependant on the number of entries. Last year, a total of 6,133 participants joined the competition, creating a prize pool of $6.13 million. Any exceeding funds from the Circa Million V entries that surpass $6 million will be put towards quarter- and full-season payouts to victorious participants.

This year, participants are limited to five entries for Circa Million and a more generous cap of 10 for the Survivor contest. A novel rule within the Survivor contests requires participants to select a different team to win each week. Although the choices do not need to be against the spread, a team can only be selected once per season and if chosen incorrectly, that entry is instantly eliminated.

The increased prize pool combined with an arguably simpler selection process is expected to reduce the size of the Survivor overlay. In contrast, the Circa Million contest provides a much tougher challenge as it demands participants to handicap and select five NFL games each week against the spread.

Following tradition, the remaining $3.65 million will be divided across players placing second through to 100. In addition, $300,000 prize packages will be awarded approximately every month throughout the quarter. The last-placed runner up, also known as the booby prize, will receive a notable $100,000, whereas the recipient of the second-to-last booby prize will walk away with a slightly lesser amount of $50,000, as stated by Circa Sports.

Reflecting on previous years, it is highly encouraging to see that last year, Circa eliminated the Survivor overlay and only had to cover for a surplus of $1.3 million from the Circa Million. Remarkably, four days prior to the submission deadline in 2022, the operator was looking at a formidable overlay surpassing $4 million. With this precedent set, there is enormous potential for last-minute entries this week.

In addition to its Las Vegas base, Circa Sports provides mobile sports betting within Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, and is soon to be introduced within Kentucky.


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