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Gaming officials in New Jersey, New Hampshire and Colorado have approved betting on the event, allowing legal sportsbooks to set odds and take wagers. In New Jersey, wagers will be limited to the event itself and must be in before the contest begins.
“We are excited to have DraftKings on board this year and we’re thrilled that they’ll help bring the fun and excitement of this venerable contest to thousands of additional sports fans,” said Richard Shea, president of Major League Eating. “We are fortunate to be able to conduct this event in these extraordinary and trying times. While we’ll miss the Coney Island crowd, we hope to provide a bit of levity by celebrating the Fourth with our reigning champions and the live ESPN broadcast.”
American eating legend Joey Chestnut, a 12-time champion, is once again favored to win the men’s hot dog contest. Miki Sudo, a six-time champion, is favored to win the women’s event.
DraftKings will serve as Major League Eating’s official sports betting partner on the event. The leading sportsbook will offer a free-to-play $25,000 contest for fans in states where betting on the event is unavailable.
“The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest is an iconic U.S. tradition that personifies American competition,” said Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer of DraftKings. “We are proud to have partnered with Major League Eating to offer people everywhere the opportunity to engage with such a classic event.”
This year’s Nathan’s hot dog contest will proceed with safety measures in place to protect competitors and staffers from the coronavirus pandemic. The event will take place at an undisclosed private location with social distancing measures in place, rather than at its usual spot on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, New York.
Both the men’s and women’s events will feature a limited field of competitors. The men’s event will have six eaters, including Chestnut, while the women’s event will have five eaters, including Sudo.
The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest will air on Saturday at noon ET on ESPN.