DraftKings Brings Back Sports Betting National Championship

Making its return after a COVID-related hiatus, the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship is back.

Taking place Friday, Nov. 5, through Sunday, Nov. 7, the three-day event will be held at the Envue Hotel in Weehawken, where participants will compete to be crowned sports betting champion of the world. In addition to wagering in person, would-be champions can also participate remotely, as long as they are physically located in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, or Wyoming.

The buy-in for the event is $10,000 — $5,000 for a bankroll, $4,500 to the prize pool, and $500 to DraftKings’ coffers. There are also play-in daily fantasy tournaments. 

In Weehawken (as well as online), contestants are allowed to place bets on NFL, NBA, and college football action from 6 p.m. Friday through 1 p.m. Sunday. The person with the most money at the end of the competition will take home $1 million, with second place pocketing $250,000. The top 25 players will win prizes, with 20th through 25th place taking home $10,000. All winnings earned through the event are also the contestants’ to keep.

Controversial finish in 2019

The inaugural event, held in 2019, attracted 260 would-be contenders and was not without its share of controversy, as not all contestants were able to access their funds in time for the late NFL games on Sunday due to inconsistencies with Kambi grading and paying out the bets. (DraftKings now operates its own betting platform.)

This kerfuffle ended up in court, with DraftKings settling a class action lawsuit for $102,000. But even with the settlement, there is still debate on who really won — or should have won — the competition. 

In the end, poker dealer Randy Lee won the event, but professional gambler (and co-founder of Unabated.com) Rufus Peabody had his entire bankroll — over $81,000 — on the line in the Patriots-Chargers game that day. Although the game ended, his winning bet wasn’t graded in time for the last set of games, thus eliminating Peabody from contention.

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