Friday 11 March 2011

Worst Gambler Ever: $127 million lost

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas... specially specially the money you lose! In 2007, Terrance Watanabe lost about $127 million dollars in one year, making it one of the biggest – if not the biggest – losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history.

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Mr. Watanabe had built his fortune on plastic trinkets, the kind given away at carnivals and church fund-raisers: batons filled with tinsel, magic wands that light up, plastic spider rings that cost $1 for a bag of more than 100. After selling his $300 million business in 2000, Watanabe "didn't know what to do with his time" according to some, and later became one of the casino's top customers.

The casinos devoured much of Mr. Watanabe's personal fortune, and benefitted the two casinos' parent company, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which derived about 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue from Mr. Watanabe that year. He later started a legal fight with the casinos, saying they do bear some of the responsibility for his losses.