Houston Rockets NBA Playoffs Run Costs Golden Nugget Sportsbook Due to Tilman Fertitta Ownership

Posted on: May 14, 2018, 02:30h. 

Last updated on: May 14, 2018, 02:32h.

The Houston Rockets tip off the Western Conference Finals tonight against the visiting Golden State Warriors, but for the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, the series is already in the books.

Houston Rockets Tilman Fertitta NBA odds
Buying the Houston Rockets cost casino billionaire Tilman Fertitta $2.2 billion. The team’s strong play, led by James Harden (pictured), is now costing his sportsbook. (Image: Michael Wyke/Associated Press)

Following billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s acquisition of the NBA franchise for a record $2.2 billion last September, his Golden Nugget casino in downtown Las Vegas excluded betting on the Rockets and amended previous sports wagers on the team. Bets on the winner of the Western Conference were changed to which team would “finish best.”

With Houston off the board, Golden State has been declared the best finishing team in the conference.

“We’ve already graded the Warriors a winner,” Golden Nugget sportsbook manager Aaron Kessler told ESPN. “Bring your ticket and you’ll get paid.”

Though the NBA doesn’t forbid team owners from holding stakes in casinos and/or sportsbooks, as the NFL does, Fertitta opted to avoid any potential conflict of interest by directing his downtown sportsbook to erase Rockets wagers.

Fertitta’s cousins Frank III and Lorenzo Fertitta allow didn’t their Station Casinos sportsbooks to take bets on UFC fights when they owned the mixed martial arts league.

Handle Decrease

After the madness of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March, April is traditionally a rather slow month for sportsbooks, though this year’s Masters did post a new handle record for the golf major.

Sportsbook revenue in May is predominantly fueled by the NBA Playoffs, but the Golden Nugget will be missing out on half of the two final playoffs series. The general opinion is that the West finale will actually be the series that determines the ultimate champion, as both the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors will presumably be favored against the Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

“Two great teams in the Western Conference Finals. It’s crazy,” Golden Nugget sportsbook director Tony Miller said of his casino not being able to take bets.

While Fertitta certainly won’t be rooting against his Rockets, for his Nevada sportsbook, a Houston win in the conference finals would be a worst-case scenario. Since futures bets were amended to read which team will “finish best,” Houston advancing to the NBA Finals would mean all bets on Cleveland or Boston would be winners.

NBA Odds

The Cavs and Celtics tipped off their Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, with Boston upsetting Cleveland in a dominating game one performance. LeBron James was finally slowed down to just 15 points on 5-16 shooting.

Boston was led by Jaylen Brown’s 23 points and eight rebounds, along with Marcus Morris contributing 21 points and Al Horford 20 points.

The Cavs entered the series the favorite despite not having homecourt advantage due to Celtics superstar Kyrie Irving’s absence. But after Boston’s 108-83 win, the series price has shortened greatly.

The Westgate SuperBook now has Cleveland at -130, and Boston at +110. In the West, the Warriors are favored at -220, to the Rockets at +180.

As for the championship, Golden State is the team to beat. The winners of two of the last three NBA titles, the Warriors are at 4/7. The Rockets are next at 12/5, with the Cavs (8/1) and Celtics (12/1) the underdogs.