With Houston Rockets Off The Board, Golden Nugget Forced Into Rare Betting Dilemma

Written By Marc Meltzer on May 11, 2018
Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets came off the board at the Golden Nugget sportsbook in Las Vegas shortly after the owner, Tilman Fertitta, purchased the team in 2017. The sportsbook could not offer futures odds on the Rockets to win the Western Conference or NBA Championship, and they also have not been able to take single game wagers on any of the team’s games.

Golden Nugget Sportsbook Director Tony Miller detailed the timeline on an interview this morning on VSiN.

  • NBA futures were posted at Golden Nugget in Las Vegas
  • Tilman Fertitta purchased the Houston Rockets
  • All NBA futures were taken down at Golden Nugget
  • Nevada Gaming Control Board said the casino cannot take bets on the Houston Rockets
  • About four days later new NBA futures were posted without the Houston Rockets

The new Golden Nugget NBA futures wagers were for the “Best Finish In Western Conference” and in the NBA championship. Surprise, the Rockets are in the Western Conference finals! Warriors backers are winners before the first game on the series tips off on Monday.

According to the rules set by the gaming commission, the Golden State Warriors are the Western Conference champions for most bettors at the Golden Nugget since the Houston Rockets cannot win. Wagers placed before Fertitta purchased the Rockets will still be honored.

During the interview, Miller said that Derek Stevens, owner of The D Las Vegas, is one of the few bettors to have a Rockets championship wager at the Golden Nugget. His very early ticket on the Rockets will pay 25-1 if they happen to win the NBA Championship.

Reminder to shop around

Not being able to take wagers on the Rockets this season presented an interesting dilemma for the Golden Nugget. The casino had to shift odds around for all teams in the NBA this year. They shaded the odds heavily towards Golden State Warriors to limit the damage since the Rockets weren’t in the equation. For example, if the Warriors may have been 2-1 at all other Las Vegas sportsbooks. However, they might have been 1-2 at the Golden Nugget.

Shifting odds around means that some other teams might have had longer odds at the Golden Nugget than any other sportsbook in Las Vegas. They’ve had to dance around with odds throughout the season. Despite the preseason favorites being in the finals there could have been value on other NBA teams.

This serves as another reminder that it’s always helpful to shop around for the best odds and lines.

Rockets at the Golden Nugget moving forward

The Houston Rockets won’t be available for wagers next year at the Golden Nugget. The casino will have time to prepare for the situation this time around so there might not be soft numbers or long odds. Individual gaming boards will have to deal with the situation if betting on sports becomes legal in states that have Golden Nugget casinos.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc Meltzer grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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