Westgate SuperContest Awards Winner $1.4M, NFL Season-Long Contest Breaks Entry Record

Posted on: January 4, 2019, 08:43h. 

Last updated on: January 4, 2019, 08:43h.

The Westgate SuperContest has a winner, and the 44-year-old man from Irvine, California, is now $1.4 million wealthier.

Westgate SuperContest NFL odds
The Westgate SuperContest top prize was a record $1.4 million in 2018. (Image: Westgate Resorts)

Eric Kahane came out on top of the record 3,123-entry field to claim the first-place prize. Each buy-in costs $1,500.

Kahane went 5-0 in Week 17 of the NFL season to narrowly win the richest season-long NFL contest in Las Vegas. Week 17 was especially sweet because his five picks included his favorite team Philadelphia Eagles covering the spread against the Washington Redskins to make the playoffs. Pair in $1.4 million, and that certainly makes for a good Sunday.

That was about as good as it can get,” Kahane told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. As to how he made his five picks each week, the winner explained, “It’s not rocket science to me. Believe what you see and not what you hear and not what you read.”

For the season, Kahane went 59-25-1 (70.2 percent) against the spread. Each correct pick is awarded a point, while pushes earn a half-point. Kahane won by just one-half point.

Instant Millionaire?

The Westgate SuperContest has rapidly grown in popularity over the years. In 2005, the contest received just 505 entries. The 2018 field equates to a more than 500 percent increase.

The SuperContest’s ever-growing field is making winners very rich. But Kahane’s $1.4 million payout could only be six figures come tax time.

Gambling winnings are considered taxable income, and therefore subjected to tax rules. According to TurboTax, Form W-2G must be completed when an individual wins $600 or more from sports betting.

Casinos are required by law to withhold 24 percent of the winnings as federal withholding tax, meaning Kahane’s actual check from the Westgate — not the large poster board one — will “only” be $1,064,000. Throw in state taxes, and his net win after divvying out government shares will presumably fall under the $1 million threshold (unless Kahane knows a creative accountant or has other deductions that greatly reduce his tax liability).

Continued Growth

With sports betting now legal and in operation in eight states, and a host of others expected to pass bills and authorize full-scale wagering in 2019, gambling on sports is no longer confined to underground bookies and offshore sites. That will likely only further expand the SuperContest field in the years ahead.

Westgate SuperBook Vice President Jay Kornegay says of the contest’s appeal, “A lot of first-time contestants win the championship. You don’t have to be a highly skilled player. If you put together a good year, you can be a millionaire. It’s life-changing money.”

Indeed, Kahane was a first-time Westgate SuperContest entrant.

The Westgate hopes to expand its SuperBook brand into new states where sports betting becomes legal. Last fall, the off-Strip resort announced a turnkey product that casinos in new states can utilize.

Kornegay said at the time, “This is the natural next step in the evolution of our industry. We have written the playbook, and now we will put it in action across the national field.”