Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino can now accept bets on NBA games, except for those involving the Houston Rockets, the team owned by the casino’s owner.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law Friday allowing casinos whose owners also own sports teams to accept bets on games — as long as that team isn’t playing in the game. Previously, the state’s sports betting law banned casinos from taking wagers on any games involving the leagues in which the teams played. That made the Golden Nugget the only Atlantic City casino that couldn’t accept bets on National Basketball Association games.
Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta owns the Golden Nugget and the Rockets.
Atlantic City’s other casinos have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in basketball wagers. More money has been bet on basketball ($857.3 million) than any other sport, including football ($639.5 million), since the state legalized sports betting in June 2018, according to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Golden Nugget has raked in $983,960 in revenue from sports betting this year, the third-lowest among eight Atlantic City casinos with sportsbooks. The casino plans to start handling NBA wagers in October.
“We applaud this decision that allows all New Jersey sportsbooks to operate on a level playing field while maintaining the highest standards of players’ protection and sports integrity,” Thomas Winter, senior vice president and general manager for online gaming at Golden Nugget, said in a statement.
A Murphy spokesperson noted that the new law mirrors rules in Nevada and Mississippi that allow Fertitta’s casinos to accept bets that don’t involve the Rockets.
“Governor Murphy has long been a supporter of New Jersey’s fast-growing sports betting industry," spokesperson Alyana Alfaro said. "The governor believes that this law … will support job creation and help the industry continue to grow and thrive.”
New Jersey lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the bill by votes of 76-0 in the Assembly in June and 26-1 in the Senate in August.