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Top-10 skill-based competitions Atlantic City should take on next6 April 2015
Late last month, the Borgata hosted a free throw shooting competition that saw 750 people compete for a first-place prize of more than $10,000. Nearly two thirds of those players paid just $20, while 272 of them opted to rebuy once to try to advance past the first round.
With Atlantic City revenues plummeting, people might look at ideas like this and think it's a gimmick. But even if it is a gimmick, it brought 750 people to the Borgata on a March weekend. Lots of those people probably ate meals at the Borgata, some may have stayed at the hotel, and plenty of them probably logged some time at the casino's slots or the table games.
I'm all for these types of skill game competitions, which were approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement about six months ago. In fact, I think Atlantic City needs more of them. Here are 10 great skill-based competitions I want Atlantic City casinos to start working on now.
10. Cup stacking
So it might be a little hard to sign up the man on the street for this, but it would be entertaining to watch. The beauty of a free throw shooting competition is that everyone thinks they can make a free throw. Not many people would think they could compete with the kid in the video below.
Even though the best in the world in this sport are typically not old enough to gamble, they're going to be 21 eventually. Give them a chance to showcase their skills, and I'd love to watch and even throw down $20 to make a fool out of myself trying to see how fast I could go.
When I was in high school, one of our physical education teachers put on a huge, two-week badminton tournament every spring. Players would get in matches whenever they could, and there were extreme bragging rights on the line. I'd love to have the chance to play in a competitive tournament again, and it's a game that everyone thinks they can play, at least until they get beat 15-0.
8. Beer mile
People who don't run often know they don't stand a chance in a foot race against people who run 40-50 miles a week. Even among runners, 95 percent of the people who toe the line at a small 5K know they aren't actually going to be the first person to cross the finish line.
That said, people are willing to pay quite a bit for an entry fee in a race. Add in the intrigue of a beer mile, where runners are required to chug a can of beer prior to each lap on a track, and interest would be through the roof.
7. Mario Kart
I've been a life-long Nintendo guy, owning every system from the NES to the Wii. With the exception of Mike Tyson's Punchout, no game produced by Nintendo is better than Mario Kart. Races could be run as time trials or with a full field, where competitors could use power ups to derail the competition. Put the final up on a big screen and a big crowd would assemble to watch the final.
Bowling is a great American sport, and everyone thinks they can put together 10 good frames. As someone who has been on the losing end of a series of $1 bowling prop bets from Casino City's own Vin Narayanan (I still don't believe he wasn't hustling me), I can say that betting on bowling is a ton of fun. And that's coming from a guy who lost!
Let everyone bowl a full game and sent the top 64 through to the next round, then set up a bracket and play down to a winner.
5. Mini golf
I'd stand in line for two hours to compete in a mini golf tournament. I know I wouldn't win, but if you gave bonus points for hole-in-ones, I'd be taking some crazy chances to nail those aces.
4. Laser tag
You could set this competition up with teams or just play last man standing. Either way, just be glad that competitors would all have to be 21 or older.
While some of the items in this list may be tough to realistically pull off in a timely fashion, darts could actually work. Give everyone 15 shots (five rounds of three shots) and take players whose cumulative score was in the top 10 percent to advance to the next round. Do it again to determine the top 16, then set up a bracket and play 501. Just be sure someone is there to announce the final and shout "One hundred and EIGHTY!"
2. Madden NFL
This tournament would be incredible. So many people love this game, and almost all of them think they're good at it. The only problem is that it would be incredibly time consuming, but if it kept people in Atlantic City for an entire weekend, so be it. There should be a secondary award for the best trash talker.
1. Beer pong
There's already a World Series of Beer Pong that takes place in Las Vegas, but there's no reason that there can't be an annual event in Atlantic City. The game can get very competitive, and the best teams don't even drink beer while they're playing. This could bring massive crowds of mostly young men to Atlantic City (imagine the number of bachelor parties alone); the economic impact would go far beyond the event itself.
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