The Western Conference Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets won’t even start until Monday, but if you bet on the Warriors making the Finals at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, you’ve already won.
According to ESPN, Warriors bettors are receiving their payout because the current owner of the Rockets, Tilman Fertitta, also owns the casino, and allowing bets on the Rockets would’ve been a conflict of interest. With Houston invalid, Golden State is the last eligible team remaining.
Fertitta didn’t officially own the team until September, which is when the casino started to disallow bets on the Rockets. After the sale of the team, the casino changed the bet to which team would “finish best” in the Western Conference playoffs and NBA Finals.
What an easy bet! The team everyone picked to win the title for the next three or so years is paying out wins to bettors just for making the conference finals. Easy money!
Now, if the Rockets do make the Finals, the casino won’t be able to allow bets on the outcome, though. So maybe there’s a silver lining for the Rockets’ owner if his team loses after all.
“It would be decent handle in a slow month,” the casino’s sportsbook manager Aaron Kessler told ESPN, “but it’s not going to kills us if we don’t book [the Finals]. We’d still have baseball, and we still have the [Vegas Golden] Knights.”