D Las Vegas owner banks $1M with UM title

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Michigan has been money, so far, in the NCAA Tournament.

Now, the Wolverines are two wins away from earning a Las Vegas casino mogul one massive payday.

Derek Stevens, the Michigan native, Michigan alum and owner of the D Las Vegas casino, plunked down a $25,000 wager at the start of the NCAA Tournament, picking the Wolverines winning the national championship.

The Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, located just two glitzy doors down from the D on Fremont Street in old Vegas, took the action, and would be on the hook for a $1.025-million payout if Michigan wins it all — a $1-million profit for Stevens.

Michigan plays Loyola-Chicago in the semifinals Saturday in San Antonio. The other game features Kansas and Villanova, with the title game next Monday.

“It’s been a roller coaster of a Tournament,” said Stevens, who named his casino the D for “downtown” as well as a nod to “Detroit. “But I’m ready to see my Wolverines secure their spot at the top.”

Michigan (34-4) has had three close calls and one blowout through the first four games of the NCAA Tournament.

Loyola-Chicago (32-5) is the Cinderella story of the 2018 ball.

The Wolverines, fresh off a Big Ten tournament championship, began the NCAA Tournament as a 40-1 pick to win the title, and now, in updated odds by Bovada, Michigan is 5-2. That’s second-best, behind Villanova (even money). Kansas is 13-4 and Loyola-Chicago is 9-1.

Stevens made a similar wager in 2015 on Michigan State, which made the Final Four but lost to Duke. He bet $12,500 on Michigan in 2017, but the Wolverines lost in the Sweet 16. Each of those wagers also would’ve earned Stevens $1 million.

Stevens also owns the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.