What would you do if you were a millionaire who owns a sports club and a casino that offers sports betting and need to get rid of one?
A Texas billionaire will soon have to make this difficult choice. Today is the day when the state Legislature finally votes on a long-awaited bill that authorizes the Garden State’s casinos to offer sports betting both online and in person. However, this may not bring benefit to every casino in town, as one of them, called Golden Nugget, may not be allowed to conduct sports bets despite the bill being passed.
The main reason for that is the fact that a billionaire named Tilman Fertitta owns it. The problem is that he also owns the Houston Rockets, an NBA team. The passed legislation clearly states that any person who owns 10 or more percent of a sports team will not have a permit to own or operate a sports book in New Jersey. Stephen Sweeney who serves as the President of the State Senate stated that both the casinos and the sports teams should be protected and potential setups should be avoided this way. Sweeney simply said that nobody should have both sides – the teams and the betting.
The Golden Nugget casino will be given a one-year period at which the betting will be available but the price to pay for that allowance is to get rid of the ownership of the team. This is not the only casino that has problems with sports betting. In fact, Fertitta owns another casino in Nevada that already allowed betting on sports. However, the issue was solved by not allowing visitors to place bets on Fertitta’s team.
However, Sweeney is not content with that solution and claims that the laws in New Jersey need to go one step further. He mentioned that there were many different bets and just by not allowing betting on one team did not mean that other bets couldn’t affect the outcome. Other officials, such as Ralph Caputo, agreed with Sweeney, claiming that they wanted to make betting on sports in NJ “clean.”
Golden Nugget is not the only casino in Atlantic City that can be connected to a sports team. In fact, WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces are partly owned by Borgata Casino which is a part of MGM. In the same way, Caesars Entertainment Group, the owner company of the Caesars Casino was one of the companies that were co-founded by the main owner of the New Jersey Devils – Joshua Harris.
Furthermore, Joshua also owns Philadelphia 76ers, an NBA team. The New Jersey Lawmakers make their final votes today, and it is up to Gov. Phil Murphy to decide whether the casinos can start up their sports betting sectors. If the bill is through, everybody who is 21 or older will be able to enjoy this type of betting.