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Casino owners boost friendly rivalry with $1M NCAA bet

TAGs: Derek Stevens, March Madness, ncaa

Casino owners ante-up friendly rivalry with $1M NCAA betThings got a bit more interesting in what many described as a friendly rivalry between two Las Vegas casino operators.

Derek Stevens, who owns The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate casinos, dared rival Tilman Fertita to a $1 million bet on the winner of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Stevens posted a copy of his betting slip from the Golden Nugget on Twitter.

Stevens, who bet $11,000 each on all 32 first-round games got off to a rocky start after, as he was already down $109,000 after the opening round, according to The Press Herald.

But his luck is slowly turning in his favor through the seventh-seeded Wolverines. Stevens put $12,500 down on the Wolverines at Fertita’s Golden Nugget Las Vegas, with a 80-to-1 odds of winning the national championship.

At the moment, the Wolverines are making Fertita break a sweat on his forehead.

Stevens’ team has already barged into the tough 16, bringing Fertitta closer to making a payout 10 times larger than any his casino’s sports book has ever made.

Fertita could have turned down Stevens’ wager but agreed to cover the largest bet ever at his Las Vegas location.

“It’s a little scary, because they’re only putting up twelve-five, and you’re putting up a million,” Fertita said. “But that’s the nature of the business we’re in. It’s OK, ’cause he’s a good customer.”

He added: “Michigan seems to be kind of a darling right now. It’s giving us a good sweat.”

Fertitta placed his bet on University of North Carolina to take home the trophy. He is tied for second place in the Bloomberg Brackets for a Cause March Madness challenge.

If he wins the $380,000 jackpot, he’ll donate it to the Houston Police Foundation to support projects of the Houston Police Department and fund special programs, officer safety, training, equipment and new technology.

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