March Madness is always about the Mad Money. Warren Buffett annually offers $1 billion to the keeper of a perfect bracket (no one has ever won), and the NCAA tournament draws tons of money to Las Vegas sports books every spring. This year, the insiders have gotten in on the action.
It’ll all come down to Michigan for Derek Stevens and Tilman Feritta – two Las Vegas casino owners who have $1 million riding on a March Madness bet. If the Wolverines win, Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate casinos, will win $1 million in his $12,500 bet at the Golden Nugget. The casino, owned by Fertitta, offered 80-to-1 odds on the bet before the tournament started.
“Michigan seems to be kind of a darling right now,” Fertitta told the Associated Press. “It’s giving us a good sweat.”
While the school has moved on to the Sweet 16, Stevens hasn’t had the best of luck so far this year. He bet $11,000 on each of the 32 first-round games but was down $109,000 by the time the round was over.
Fertitta personally approved his fellow owner’s bet, which could have been rejected by the casino.
“It’s OK, ’cause he’s a good customer,” he said.
The Golden Nugget owner is also in on the action, but not at any of the local casinos. Instead, Fertitta is playing Bloomberg Brackets for a Cause with 38 other businessmen. The participants all threw in $10,000 and the total pot will go to the charities of the three participants with the most accurate brackets.
Fertitta, a Texan, is currently in third place with 39/63 correct picks behind Bob Steel and Jeanie Buss. He is playing for the Houston Police Foundation and is betting on North Carolina to win it all. Catch up with Fertitta on CNBC reality TV show “Billion Dollar Buyer.”
Photo credit: Jason Crotty (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/]
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