NBA bets — at least most of them — are no longer forbidden at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed a bill into law that paves the way for the casino to accept wagers on NBA games, as long as they don’t feature the Houston Rockets.

The ban has been in place because the Nugget is owned by Tilman Fertitta, the billionaire restauranteur who also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

When New Jersey legalized sports betting in June 2018, state lawmakers included a provision in the law that prohibited team owners from placing or accepting wagers on any games involving their sports — to avoid a conflict of interest.

That has meant for the last 14 months, you could walk into the Nugget and place a wager on pretty much every sport, except NBA games.

The Nugget was the only Garden State casino or racetrack affected by the ban.

But the state Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill (A5463) this summer that kills the restriction, permitting anyone who owns 10 percent or more of a professional sports team to accept bets on games within their league, as long as it doesn’t include the team they own.

It brings New Jersey’s law in line with the rules in Las Vegas, where Tilman owns another Nugget casino.

State Assemblyman John Burzichelli, a main sponsor of the measure, told NJ Advance Media last month that the change “makes sense” and that he doesn’t believe a conflict is more likely now.

“We addressed that by not allowing them to accept wagers on his team, when his team is playing,” Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, said “It’s something that’s gonna have to be watched.”

Murphy did not comment on the law after signing it Friday.

Thomas Winter, a senior vice president for the Golden Nugget, said this will allow the all sportsbooks in New Jersey to “operate on a level playing field while maintaining the highest standards of players protection and sports integrity.”

The lack of NBA betting caused SugarHouse Sportsbook to sever its agreement to run the Nugget’s online sports betting website in October and move to Monmouth Park.

The Nugget has seen $163,000 in sports betting revenue this year. By comparison, New Jersey’s leader — the FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack — has generated $53 million in that time.


This article was originally written by Brent Johnson for