Hollywood movies have taught us that when you are facing financial peril and need some quick cash, Vegas casinos are pretty much massive brick-and-mortar ATMs that will serve anyone. Tom Cruise used them as such, Bradley Cooper and his Hangover gang copied Tom, and Chevy Chase and his cinematic Griswold family did the same in 1997. However, in the real world, it turns out these locales are not in the business of just giving away money, which comes as a shocker to most. By the age of twenty, everyone should accept the notion that not everything in movies is factual, mimicking to a T our non-celluloid existence?

Even more surprisingly, evidence shows that casinos not only feature games that favor them but will also engage in underhanded tactics to have their clientele spend as much time gambling as possible. It is like gaming establishments dedicate their operations solely to making money. Disgusting. Channeling my inner Greta Thunberg, to that, I must say: “How dare they?!”

Yet, the realization that casinos are not adult playgrounds that exist to make whoever walks through their doors rich is something everyone should accept. Thankfully, for all those that have suffered at their hands, here is one story of a man that fought back.

In 2007, Terrance Watanabe, aka Vegas’ most notorious loser, burned through $127 million at The Rio and Caesar’s Palace in Vegas while gambling a total of $825 million. He also got banned from the Wynn for playing too much, as his estimated losses grew past $204 million. When that happened, Watanabe was brave enough not to take responsibility for his actions. Instead of accepting the consequences of his exploits, buckling down, and learning basic blackjack strategy to win more often, he chose to do the more reasonable thing and blame others.

In the gambling lexicon, Watanabe is a high-roller referred to as a whale. Yet, in reality, he was and still is a petite Asian man.

How Do You Lose Over $100 Million Gambling?

The answer to this question is simple. You have to have the concoction of horrible luck, poor common sense, and not knowing what you are doing. We have all been there, so do not judge.

That said, Mr. Watanabe’s main issue was that he was prone to vices. Per reports from Sin City, he would bet drunk while also using cocaine and marijuana. Stunningly enough, none of these substances helped Watanabe in his gaming ventures and only served to impair his performance. His alleged sexual advances towards several casino employees while under the influences of these drugs also did not do him any favors in winning at least sympathy on gaming floors.

Terrence Watanabe made his fortune the way most who carelessly spend it do. He inherited it from his father, Harry, who built the party supply direct marketing company Oriental Trading in 1932 as a gift shop in Omaha, Nebraska. Terrance took over the family business in 1977 as president. He shifted Oriental Trading’s strategy from supplying products to carnivals to schools and churches. It was not until 2000, when Watanabe sold off his stake to Brentwood associates, that Terrance decided it was time to see if he could get even wealthier by playing blackjack. As evident by the title of this article, he did not.

What he did do was provide 5.6% of Harrah’s Entertainment’s annual revenue in 2008. Though, he claims that he was not at fault. That evil Vegas establishment’s encouraged him to gamble when he should not have been doing so. They did this by providing him free drinks, complimentary airfare, 15% cashback, $500,000 in credit at the gift store, and more. In essence, they did everything in their power to pamper him. Truly despicable.

Terrence Sues Sneaky Casino Operators

Jokes aside, Watanabe’s case was not without merit, as gambling locales cannot permit intoxicated individuals to gamble. According to the latest science, heavy drinking affects decision-making, and laws around the globe have adapted to implement this latest tidbit of info. Nevertheless, before Terrence filed his lawsuit against Harrah’s Entertainment, now Caesars Entertainment, for taking advantage of him in his weakened state, they had one against him, for him not paying his gambling debts in their entirety.

The two parties did not get to duel in a court of law, as they reached a private settlement two weeks before their showdown date. Harrah's Entertainment did not get out unscathed publicly, as they got hit with a $225,000 fine for letting Watanabe bet drunk. They argued he only appeared intoxicated from all the weed and cocaine he was doing.

Regardless of the truth, gambling addiction is no laughing matter, and everyone suffering from it should seek help immediately. The National Council on Problem Gambling lists excellent resources on this topic.

For more gambling news and reviews go to OUSC.


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