Will Golden Nugget Soon Offer NBA Bets?
Nobody needs to throw a bake sale for Tilman Fertitta, the billionaire Texan who owns the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. But let’s not give Fertitta the short end by keeping Nugget sportsbooks from offering NBA wagers.
For sports fans, it’s still early to be thinking about basketball—the tip-off’s not until October. But the NBA season is definitely on the minds of New Jersey gaming regulators. Between now and then, they have to decide whether to let the sports book at GoldenNugget.com offer bets on NBA games.
Since 2016, GoldenNugget.com has led the pack among New Jersey’s online casinos, generating $14 million in revenue in May in an ongoing streak that started in December 2016.
But Golden Nugget’s mobile sportsbook, which launched in February, has struggled due to a regulation that prevents it from taking wagers on the NBA.
It’s shut out because it’s owned by Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the Houston Rockets. The retail sportsbook in Atlantic City is similarly hamstrung; as a result, both came in last in sports betting figures for May, when the NBA playoffs were underway.
This restriction isn’t good for the AC brand, and in our view, it’s not sporting. According to one figure, NBA wagers amount to about 15% of combined sportsbook revenues—not a small chunk of change. That restriction ensures that the leading online casino is outta luck when it comes to sports betting.
It’s different in Las Vegas. There, the Golden Nugget can accept wagers on any NBA game that does not involve the Rockets.
That’s a reasonable compromise. It’s the way it should be handled here. Not for the sake of Tilman Fertitta, who has more money than God and Carl Icahn put together and by the way should be dating my daughter. This is for the sake of the fans, who should be allowed to place all their bets at one book.
Trenton lawmakers, make the right choice on this one. Let’s make sure it’s not a buzzer-beater.