Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta's Casino Paying Warriors Conference Finals Bets

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2018

The new owner of the Houston Rockets Tilman Fertitta and player James Harden before their game against the San Antonio Spurs in an NBA pre season basketball game Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors have yet to face off in the 2018 Western Conference Finals, but one casino is already paying up on the series.

Las Vegas' Golden Nugget casino...which is owned by Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta.

According to ESPN.com's David Purdum, when Fertitta bought the team for $2.2 billion back in September, the Golden Nugget followed proper procedure and removed Houston from future bets to avoid any potential conflict of interest. As a result, the Warriors have already been awarded the "best finish" of the Western Conference at the casino.

That means anyone who bet on Golden State can cash in now, before the series even tips off. In other words, the Warriors can go on to lose the series but anyone who bet on them still wins.

Of course, not allowing bets on the Rockets can lead to chaos at the casino.

"It's crazy," Golden Nugget sportsbook director Tony Miller said, via Purdum. "Two great teams in the Western Conference Finals, and we're doing more explaining every day than anything else."

Houston is making Fertitta money by continuing to go deeper into the postseason, but on the other hand, the team is costing his casino money by limiting the action available to bettors. And if the Rockets advance to the NBA Finals, that would only add to the situation.

"It would be decent handle in a slow month, but it's not going to kills us if we don't book [the Finals]," Golden Nugget sportsbook manager Aaron Kessler said, via Purdum. "We'd still have baseball, and we still have the [Vegas Golden] Knights."

It's an odd situation for Fertitta to be in. The businessman obviously hopes that his franchise can win its third-ever championship in his first season, but if the Rockets are knocked out by the Warriors, he can at least take comfort in the fact that the Finals will likely be good for his casino's business.

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