GAMBLING: Sportech offering over 100,000 in free handicapping contests
NEW HAVEN, Apr 14, 2012 (Menafn - New Haven Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --A year ago, officials of Sportech PLC, which operates Connecticut Off-Track Betting, now known as Winners Connecticut OTB, promised to invest in upgrades and renovations at its 15 OTB sites, including Sports Haven and the East Haven and Milford OTB branches.
The last six months of 2011, Sportech ended up investing over 3 million in improvements at all of its facilities, from installing new carpeting to adding new state-of-the-art flat screen TVs to creating separate, more private betting areas at sites like the Shoreline Star and Milford OTB.
Now, in line with those improvements, Sportech is challenging its customers to claim over 100,000 in prizes with a series of new handicapping contests with an entry fee that can't be beat -- free.
The Winners 75,000 Ultimate Horeseracing Handicapping Series kicks off on Saturday with the first of four 10,000 qualifying events, with the top 20 finishers advancing to the 35,000 Grand Finale on Nov. 17. There are qualifying events June 16, Aug. 18 and Oct. 20 with first place worth 5,000. Prizes will be paid out to the top 10 finishers in each qualifier -- the top two finishers win 5,000 and 1,000 with places 3-10 paid out in Winners Rewards points redeemable for prizes.
First place in the Grand Finale will be worth 20,000 and the top two finishers qualify for the 2013 750,000 Horse Player World Series at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from Feb. 21-23. Sportech will pay the air fare and hotel accomodations for the two World Series qualifiers. In addition, over 20,000 in merchandise will be given away to participants in each of the events.
"Investing in our venues was something we intended to do ever since we acquired Winners two years ago," said Phil Balderamos, vice president of marketing for Sportech. "We promised to upgrade our facilities to give our customers a great experience at each of our 15 venues and we kept that promise.
"Now, in an effort to give something more back to our customers, we created a new series of handicapping tournaments that we believe are very customer friendly. In the past, handicapping tournaments here would cost 100 or more to enter with the prize money generated by the amount of entry fees collected. We've made this a win-win situation for our customers because they can enter for free and we supply all the prizes ourselves."
Handicapping fans are allowed three entries into each contest. While it is free to enter, fans have to fund each of their tournament accounts with 20 that they use to wager with in the contest. The tracks eligible to be wagered on must be either New York Racing Association tracks (Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga) or Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park) and there is a five-wager minimum. Whoever ends up with the most accumulated winnings during the contest wins the event. Handicappers keep the money won in their account.
Registration is open at any Connecticut OTB venue or online at mywinners.com.
"We're doing these contests on an experimental basis," Balderamos said. "At the end of the series we'll evaluate how it all went. But we have every intention of making this an annual event."
Sportech had what amounted to a trial run of its handicapping series on April 7 with its first handicapping contest of the year with the 10,000 Winners Palm Beach Greyhound Challenge. Tom Pascarelli of Willimantic won the event with 247.50 in accumulated winnings on bets made at Palm Beach Kennel and earned 5,000. There were nearly 500 entries.
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