You Can’t Bet On The Weiner In Iowa, But You Can Play In The DraftKings Prize Pool

Written By Russ Mitchell on July 2, 2021
hot dog eating betting

The Fourth of July means it’s Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest season. But, If you want to bet on hot dog eating competitions in Iowa, it will have to be a friendly family wager on how hungry your Cousin Billy is this weekend.

In what must have been a gut-wrenching decision, the Iowa Legislature didn’t include competitive eating as an approved wager in the state.

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) administrator Brian Ohorilko explained:

“Currently, under the under Iowa law, it’s not something that would be authorized. So, it really hasn’t been requested by the (sportsbook) operators because of that reason.”

That puts competitive eating in the same boat as professional sports draft bets or esport wagering.

The Iowa Legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds would need to authorize those away-from-the-playing-field betting options. Only then would Ohorilko and the IRGC be able to add them to list of approved wagers in Iowa.

Supporters crafted a bill to expand Iowa sports betting options in 2021. But, the bill didn’t meet committee deadlines for a full vote by the Iowa House and Senate. The Iowa General Assembly won’t reconvene for a regular session until January 2022.

Nathan’s hot dog eating contest at DraftKings

DraftKings set up a free sportsbook pool with $25,000 in prizes for answering a series of questions about Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Since it’s a free contest — not a competitive eating wager — Iowa customers with a DK account can visit the DraftKings app to play.

DraftKings pool contest questions include:

  • Who will win the men’s championship?
  • Who will win the women’s championship?
  • Will the men’s record of 75 hot dogs be broken?
  • Will the women’s record of 48.5 hot dogs be broken?
  • How many men will eat 50 or more hot dogs?
  • Where will Geoffrey Esper finish in the men’s championship?
  • How many hot dogs will Joey “Jaws” Chestnut eat?
  • There’s a World Chugging Championship undercard. Will Eric Badlands Booker chug a gallon of lemonade in less than one minute?

Hot dog eating bets are legal in other states

DraftKings Sportsbook accepted bets for the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest for the first time in July 2020.

Only bettors in Colorado, Indiana or New Jersey can take advantage of the DK betting promo in 2021, however.

Hot dog bettors in those states can wager up to $25 with boosted odds of +125 for Joey Chestnut (pictured above, right), of Indianapolis, to eat a World Record 75+ hot dogs and buns. As the pool play question suggests, Chestnut gobbled 75 hot dogs last year.

William Hill betting options in other states include Chestnut (-3000) vs. the field (+1200). The total is 73.5 hot dogs with over at -200 and under at +165.

Last year’s women’s champion was Miki Sudo (pictured above, left), of Tampa. She snarfed the record 48.5 hot dogs and buns to shame her competition. The next-best total among women last year was 18. Sudo and fellow competitive eater Nick Wehry are expecting their first child, so she won’t defend her title in 2021.

The competitors have 10 Maalox-inducing minutes to chow through the meat tubes and water-soaked buns. ESPN3 will stream 2021 women’s hot dog eating contest at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

ESPN picks up the men’s competition at 11 a.m.

Public returns for 2021 Nathan’s Hot Dog contest

Major League Eating regulates what mere mortals would regurgitate. It says the Nathan’s Hot Dog contest draws 30,000 spectators each Fourth of July at Coney Island.

Last year, organizers held the competition at a private location with only the media present. The 2021 event features 18 men and 10 women at Maimonides Park, which is home to the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league affiliate of the New York Mets.

The contest is usually held at Nathan’s Famous flagship restaurant on Surf and Stillwell avenues. James Walker, the restaurant’s senior vice president told Major League Eating:

“It is encouraging to hold this event live for fans, who last year were unable to celebrate July 4 as they traditionally do. Next year, we hope to return to the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues, where we have held this event for decade after decade.”

Nathan Handwerker opened Nathan’s Famous in 1916 and held the inaugural hot dog eating contest that year.

George Shea, of Major League Eating, said:

“The Nathan’s Famous contest is the crown jewel of the Fourth of July and stands as a beacon of freedom for all those who believe in American exceptionalism.”

Photo by John Minchillo / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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