For the most part, casino gaming is you vs. them, gambler vs. house.
Poker is the most notable exception to that rule, a game of partial skill and partial luck in which gambler faces gambler, while the house, in the moment, doesn’t care who wins. Other exceptions pop up in the form of occasional sports pick’em contests, blackjack tournaments, slots tournaments, and so forth.
As BetMGM tries to stand out in the crowded New Jersey legal online casino space, the operator has recently added another exception to the list. On Aug. 10, BetMGM Casino (and sister sites Borgata Online Casino and Party Casino) launched the “Casino Super Series,” a seven-week-long online gaming tournament of sorts with a prize pool in excess of $1.5 million.
To be sure, this doesn’t have the mano-a-mano feel of a poker tournament, and the outcome isn’t as influenced by skill as a season-long NFL contest spent picking against the spread.
Think of it more as a promotion designed to get people playing, with luck every bit the determining factor it always is in slots and table games — but with added upside for those who are active enough and who run hot enough.
Different “featured games” each week
The Casino Super Series runs through Sept. 27, with weekly leaderboards awarding $125,000 in prizes and an overall series leaderboard with a $500,000 prize pool. The grand prize is $250,000.
“We’re excited to bring these three well-known gaming brands together to offer the biggest online gaming tournament New Jersey has ever seen,” said BetMGM Vice President of Gaming Matthew Sunderland. “There really is something for every type of casino player in the Casino Super Series.”
Each week, there is a different set of “featured games” in which players who’ve opted in to the Casino Super Series Leaderboard can earn points. For example, this week (Aug. 17-23), the games are all from supplier Slingo:
- Slingo Extreme
- Slingo XXXtreme
- Slingo Deal or No Deal
- Blackjack X-Change
- Slingo Maximus Solider of Rome
- Slingo Carnival
- Slingo Berserk
- Slingo Classic
For those who prefer table games, the following week will put Live Dealer Blackjack and Live Dealer Roulette in the spotlight, with more blackjack coming the week of Sept. 7-13. The week of Sept. 14-20 covers classic casino games roulette and baccarat as well as the popular jackpot-generating slots game Divine Fortune.
Each week, the top 1,000 places pay out, with prizes ranging from $50,000 for first place down to $5.
As for the overall Casino Super Series leaderboard, prizes are as follows:
With regard to those winnings, there’s a catch — but then a catch to that catch. Prizes are awarded in “free play,” which typically means the money can’t be cashed out until you’ve played through it a certain number of times. In this case, though, it’s “unrestricted free play,” meaning there’s no wager requirement and the funds can be withdrawn immediately.
A few additional notes:
- Although players can compete on any of the three New Jersey casino sites under the MGM umbrella, the operator recommends participating on only one account to maximize point accumulation, as points accrued on separate sites are counted separately.
- The $125K weekly leaderboards also feature 10 “Lucky Spots” — predetermined places on the leaderboard that pay out an extra $1,000.
- During Weeks 1, 3, 5, and 7, players can earn a share of 50,000 Free Spins.
Is this a “tournament” in the traditional sense of the word? Not exactly. What BetMGM is doing is best described as a “contest” with a leaderboard, where luck, a big bankroll, and a willingness to risk it are rewarded. But it does ultimately have a peer-vs.-peer element, as gamblers compete against each other while simultaneously hoping to hold their own against the house.
The Casino Super Series is something a little different. And as summer turns to fall and the entertainment options during a pandemic remain limited, something a little different is just what a lot of online casino players are looking for.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com