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Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta on why 'socialism scares the hell out of me'

Julia La Roche

Billionaire entrepreneur Tilman Fertitta writes in his new book "Shut Up And Listen" that he doesn't fear anything — but he worries about everything.

But there is one thing that "scares the hell" out of the world's richest restauranteur when it comes to the Millennial generation — and that's an affinity, reflected in recent polls, for a government-run society.

"Socialism scares the hell out of me because you will shut people down like myself who every day is building something, creating jobs, employing people," Fertitta told Yahoo Finance.

Fertitta, 62, is the sole owner of restaurant giant Landry's, the Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels, and the NBA's Houston Rockets.

He got his start in the restaurant business as a kid peeling shrimp in his father's restaurant on Galveston Island, Texas.

"I am the great American Dream. Anybody can do it if I can do it. Believe me — I am not the smartest in the room,” the billionaire joked. “I just worked really hard. And Socialism really scares me."

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 15: Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta leaves the court after the game against the Phoenix Suns at Toyota Center on March 15, 2019 in Houston, Texas.

Fertitta opened his first restaurant in 1980, and over the last 30 years built a restaurant and hospitality empire with more than 600 locations in 36 states and 15 countries.

Some of the brands include Bubba Gump Shrimp, Rainforest Cafe, Dos Caminos, and Mastro's Steakhouse, to name a few.

The restauranteur added that he had been friends with the last five presidents, whether they were Republican or Democrat.

Mark your calendar.

None of the Oval Office’s occupants ever “bothered me because they all believed in capitalism and capitalists. And, that is why our country is so great, and everybody wants to come here, let's be honest."

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on