More Than $1 Million Will Be Wagered On The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Evan AgostiniAP Images

Joey Chestnut is eyeing an 11th win at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, and a slew of bettors will have his back. While the winner of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest gets the coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt and a $10,000 cash prize, there is much more at stake for gamblers looking to make a quick buck.

Defending champion Joey Chestnut is a favorite to win his 11th title in the hot dog company’s 2018 event. Bookmakers say more than $1 million will be wagered across the offshore sportsbook industry on the annual July 4 eating contest. According to ESPN, Chestnut is listed as high as a -700 favorite to devour the most Nathan’s hot dogs and buns during the 10-minute contest.

The first Nathan’s hot dog eating contest took place in 1972, and it has become a Fourth of July tradition that spawns wagers in the massive offshore sports betting market across the Caribbean. In the States, it is illegal to bet on the contest in Nevada due to gaming control regulations, so nearly all of the money wagered on the contest is outsourced to bookmakers operating online from tropical locales.

On the morning of the Nathan’s hot dog contest, bookmakers in Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Panama begin taking small bets, and by the time the eating extravaganza gets going at noon EST, more than a million dollars could be at stake.

Veteran bookmaker Scott Kaminsky of The Greek told ESPN that he has been booking the popular hot dog contest for 10 years but pointed to Chestnut as being a problem child because “he is such a big favorite, it kills some of the action.”

Joey Chestnut chowed down on a record 71 hotdogs last July 4, and he will likely attempt to beat that number this year.

In an interview with GQ, Chestnut dished that he has his body figured out after so many years of competitive eating under his belt.

“I have a really good technique,” Chestnut told GQ. “There has to be something wrong with me for somebody to beat me.”

Chestnut revealed that when he’s in training for the competition, he ups his intake of vitamin supplements and water, then eats between three and six dozen hot dogs during practice sessions. The competitive eating champ also revealed that he has to special order his Nathan’s practice dogs “by the thousand” because the brand is hard for him to find in his hometown.

The men’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest kicks off on Wednesday, July 4, at noon on ESPN2.