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Houston billionaire will lose $1 million if Michigan State wins the Final Four: Greenlighted longshot bet

Houston billionaire will lose $1 million if Michigan State wins title

Tom Izzo
If Michigan State continues its surprising run under Tom Izzo, Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta will be the one giving the stink eye. Courtesy of Hoops Insider
Tilman Fertitta, September 2012, head shot
Tilman Feritta personally greenlighted a potential $1 million bet on Michigan State at his casino. Courtesy Photo
Tom Izzo
Tilman Fertitta, September 2012, head shot

Bet we know who Tilman Fertitta will be betting against in the Final Four.

The Houston billionaire could be out $1 million if Michigan State wins the championship. That's the amount Fertitta's Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino will pay out to hotel owner Derek Stevens if the Spartans claim the title.

In early December, when Michigan State started the season with a miserable 5-3 record, Stevens put $20,000 down on 50-to-1 odds from the Golden Nugget that the Spartans would win the NCAA Championship, according to ESPN.com. Stevens placed the bet at the Golden Nugget rather than his two Las Vegas hotels because Nevada state gaming regulations forbid owners from placing bets at their own establishments.

ESPN reports that the Golden Nugget originally declined Stevens' bet, but Fertitta approved it after the hotel's sports book director consulted with him by phone.

Michigan State, which is the lowest-seeded team in the Final Four (it was only seventh seed in its region) is still only 8-to-1 to win the title and must  upset a pair of No. 1 seeds — Duke on Saturday and Kentucky or Wisconsin next Monday — for Stevens to claim the winnings.

Ironically, Stevens is a graduate of Michigan State's archrival, the University of Michigan.

As CultureMap previously reported, Fertitta was flying high in a billionaire's charity bracket pool, but faltered when Kentucky squeaked by his favorite, Notre Dame.