Las Vegas casino owner Derek Stevens was set to earn a $1 million payout if Michigan was able to pull out the win during the 2017 March Madness tournament. The Wolverines were the seventh-seeded team in the series and Stevens posted a $12,500 bet at the Golden Nugget on March 13th that the team would win. Unfortunately, Stevens will not be $1 million richer as the Wolverines were put out of the tournament after taking on Oregon earlier this week.
Not only did the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate Hotel and Casino owner post the big bet on his alma mater, he also bet $11,000 each on all of the 32 first-round games. During the opening round of NCAA tournaments, Stevens was already down $109,000.
As far as the Michigan wager was concerned, the bet by Stevens was approved by Tilman Fertitta personally, the owner of the Golden Nugget. After Stevens placed the wager, he posted an image of the ticket on Twitter, with Fertitta tweeting back, “Should be fun my friend!”, seemingly not worried about the potential to lose $1 million.
Fertitta was right not to worry as Michigan lost to Oregon in a close game with a score of 69-68. Oregon now moves on to compete in the Elite Eight. If Michigan had been able to hang on and earn the number one finish, the payout by the Golden Nugget would have been 10 times larger than any payment the sports book has ever made.
This is not the first time that Stevens has made a big bet on sports teams of his home state. Two years ago, the casino owner wagered $20,000 on the Spartans to win the NCAA championship and his wager was accepted by Tony Miller, the director of the Golden Nugget sportsbook. The Michigan team made it to the final four but were unable to pull out a win, losing out to the Duke Blue Devils.