Detroit native and Las Vegas casino magnate, Derek Stevens, is in for a massive payday if his alma mater Michigan Wolverines win the national title.
Stevens, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 1990, wagered a hefty $12,500 on the seventh-seeded Michigan to win the 2017 NCAA Tournament. If the John Beilein-led Wolverines pull off the upset, he’ll walk away with a cool $1million. Stevens posted a picture of the ticket he purchased at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas on his Twitter account on March 13.
This isn’t the first time the owner of the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, bet big money on a Michigan team to take it all. Two years ago, Stevens dropped $20,000 on the Spartans to win the NCAA championship, when Golden Nugget sportsbook director Tony Miller accepted the bet on rival Michigan State at 50-1 odds on Dec. 5. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal report at the time, Stevens is a friend of Miller and a regular at the sports book.
Off to an agonizing start, Stevens lost a total of $109,000 after going 10-19-3 on his Tuesday through Friday bets. Heading into Friday he was down $124,000 and 3-14-2. In total, he wagered $352,000, betting on all 32 games of the first round of the March Madness tourney, according to the news agency.
On Thursday, Stevens reportedly told Brent Musburger (VSIN.com), “This has been brutal. The boys at the South Point, oh, they’ve been right on the number. Isn’t this amazing how great these bookmakers are in Las Vegas?”
In addition to the casinos on opposite sides of Fremont Street, Stevens and his brother Greg also own the former Las Vegas Club Hotel & Casino and the land and building that were previously occupied by the Mermaids, Glitter Gulch, Las Vegas Club, and Le Bayou. Derek reportedly owns 78 percent of the D, while Greg controls the remaining 22 percent.
Whether or not Stevens, who is helping transform Fremont Street to what it was in its heyday and who some say is this generation’s Steve Wynn, remains to be seen.