Derek Stevens, co-owner and CEO of the D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, is wagering big to see his home state school, Michigan State, pull off an underdog victory in the 2015 NCAA college basketball tournament – to the tune of $1 million (Pictured: Derek Stevens).
On December 5, 2014, Stevens placed a $20,000 wager on the Spartans at 50-1 odds at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. After the Spartans’ Sunday win against the Louisville Cardinals, Stevens is now only two games away from a $1 million payout.
“I approached several casinos that weren’t willing to take on a bet of this magnitude but in the spirit of friendly downtown competition, I went to the Golden Nugget’s owner and my personal friend Tilman Fertitta, who had the guts to take my wager,” said Stevens, a Michigan native. “Saturday’s game will be a great matchup as Michigan State and Coach Tom Izzo have truly impressed the country. I realize I’m still an underdog but so far, it’s been a good position to be in.”
If Michigan State takes home the national championship and Stevens in turn claims his $1 million winnings, the local Las Vegas entrepreneur plans to give back to his employees and his community. Every person employed at the D or Golden Gate when the bet was placed will receive a bonus. A portion of the winnings will also be donated to the Tarkanian Basketball Academy while the rest will be invested in the continued re-development of Downtown Las Vegas.
Tony Miller, Golden Nugget’s Race & Sports Book Director said, “Michigan State has always been viewed as a dark horse for the tournament, so Derek’s wager is definitely a courageous one. This bet will elevate the excitement and anticipation in Downtown Las Vegas this weekend.”
Michigan State fans from across the country are invited to wear their green and white and root for the Spartans at the D Las Vegas’ upcoming “Michigan State for $1 Million” party during the school’s Final Four match against Duke University on Saturday, April 4 at 6:09 p.m. ET. The game will be played on all TVs and will be broadcasted on full audio throughout the casino. Stevens also invites UNLV Runnin’ Rebels to join the festivities and root against the Blue Devils.
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