Here’s Why You Can’t Bet Every NBA Team At Every Casino

Written By Marc Meltzer on November 15, 2017
Houston Rockets hat

[toc]According to the UNLV Center for Gaming Research basketball has been the second-most popular sport to wager on in Nevada since 2000. College and pro hoops are sandwiched between football and baseball as the favorite sport for bettors.

Wagering on basketball and football are very similar since both are point spread-based wagers. Betting on college basketball is straightforward, since all teams are available to bet. Betting on the NBA could be a little more confusing. Not every team is available in every casino. Sometimes bettors will have to visit a casino to wager on a particular game.

Houston Rockets and Golden Nugget

In 2017, the Houston Rockets were purchased by Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta. Once the deal closed and he was the owner of both businesses, the Rockets came off the board at the Golden Nugget sports book in Las Vegas and Laughlin.

Golden Nugget still takes wagers on every other team, unless they’re playing the Houston Rockets. When you walk into the sports book, you’ll notice that the Rockets aren’t available in futures or full game wagering either.

In fact, the terminology for championship odds is different for pro basketball than all other pro sports. Other pro sports teams have their odds to win a championship listed as “To Win (sport) Championship.” The Golden Nugget lists NBA futures as “Best Finish In NBA” since the Houston Rockets might win the championship.

Boston Celtics and Caesars Entertainment

The inability of being able to wager on NBA teams at certain Nevada teams isn’t new. Gary Loveman has been an executive or on the Board of Directors at Caesars Entertainment (previously Harrah’s Entertainment) since 1998. In 2006, Loveman also became a partial owner of the Boston Celtics.

Once the deal for the Boston Celtics was complete, the then-Harrah’s Entertainment had to take the Celtics off the board in their Nevada sports books. That continues to this day, since Loveman is still a member of the Board of Directors for Caesars Entertainment. You can’t wager on the Celtics at the following casinos:

  • Bally’s
  • Caesars Palace
  • The Cromwell
  • Flamingo
  • Harrah’s Las Vegas
  • Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
  • Harrah’s Laughlin
  • Harrah’s Reno
  • Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
  • The Linq
  • Paris
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Rio

Potential future pro sports wagering conflicts

The WNBA and NBA Board of Governors recently approved the relocation of the San Antonio Stars to Las Vegas. The team was purchased by MGM Resorts International. They will play their home games at Mandalay Bay. The WNBA isn’t the most popular sport for recreational bettors, so the sports book operators don’t pay close attention to the games. However, the league is popular with professionals who look to exploit weak lines.

Having a team could affect sports bettors twofold. Sports book operators will be paying closer attention to the league since there’s a local team. This could make lines tighter. This would hurt anyone who wagers on WNBA games. More importantly, it wouldn’t be surprising if MGM Resorts International didn’t take wagers involving the team that they wholly own.

The Maloof family previously owned both Palms Casino and Resort and the Sacramento Kings. The casino didn’t take wagers on the NBA team when they own both businesses. The family has since sold both, but now own a small percentage of the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team. If they purchase a complete or partial interest in a casino company, the league could ask them to sell their stake in the team. If they keep ownership, the casino might not be able to take wagers on the Knights.

Photo by Roman Tiraspolsky /

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Marc Meltzer

Marc 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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