Maloofs' casino gets approval to take NBA bets, but not on family's Kings

Updated: October 24, 2008, 6:08 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- The NBA Board of Governors voted to allow the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas to accept bets on league games, even though the Maloof family owns both the casino and the Sacramento Kings, owner George Maloof Jr. said Thursday.

Maloof told The Associated Press the unanimous vote Thursday means that for the first time the Palms will be allowed to take wagers on all NBA teams, except the Kings.

The arrangement is similar to a deal between the NBA and casino company Harrah's Entertainment Inc., whose chief executive, Gary Loveman, owns a 2.4 percent stake in the Boston Celtics. Harrah's casinos accept wagers on all NBA games except those involving the Celtics.

"The Celtics kind of opened the door a little bit," Maloof said. "We just thought it would be fair to do the same thing with us."

Maloof said he had talked to the league for some time about such an arrangement, but began a formal push about six months ago.

Spokesmen for the NBA did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Maloof said he had not calculated how much NBA betting action the Palms expects, but said the move is about keeping customers from gambling on games elsewhere.

"The fact that somebody couldn't book a bet and had to go off property drove me crazy because ... you want to provide every service for your guest and you want to be competitive," Maloof said.

Oddsmaker John Harper of Las Vegas Sports Consultants said NBA betting is popular because games are played throughout the week and the season is 82 games, not including playoffs.

But for sports bettors, basketball is considerably less popular than college and professional football.

"Football is king, and that's far above anything else," Harper said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press