Nobody likes losing, but it’s something we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives. Whether it was a sports game, a competition that we entered, or our middle school science fair, losing can make someone feel dreadful. Thankfully, most of us don’t have our losses publicized by major news organizations. Our silent losses are one of few benefits of being an every day citizen.
But what about the people who have lost, and had these events broadcast around the world? What about the people who live their lives in the fast lane: high rolling gamblers. When a high roller loses, those closest to him, and pretty much everybody else, sits back and says to themselves “How can they lose so much money, and seem so nonchalant about the whole ordeal?”
Here at TheRichest, we’ve decided to compile some of the biggest gambling losses of all time into this brief list. If you think it’s rough losing $3 on a scratch ticket you bought at your favourite convenience store, just imagine what it’s like to be these gamblers.
5. Steve Richards lost £30,000 after he bet it on ONE game of Rugby
Steve Richards was a 56-year-old-roofing contractor with a passion for betting. He would claim that gambling was something he looked forward to every week, and something he says he won’t ever stop doing. Despite his passion for gambling, Steve would only win small bets here and there, until his lucky day.
Steve bet £10, and with the odds against him 3,861/1, he successfully guessed the results of 12 different rugby matches. As a result, Steve was lucky enough to take home £38,970. However, Steve wasn’t completely satisfied with his winnings.
Less than a week later, Steve bet a little more of his money on a rugby match between Wales and Australia. To be exact, Steve bet £30,000. If Wales beat Australia, Steve would have finished watching the game with £55,000 more in his pocket.
Unfortunately for Steve, Wales lost the game, and he lost £30,000. However, he says that he has no regrets, and would never bet against Wales in a rugby match.
4. Mark Jonhston lost $500,000 at a Las Vegas Casino in one weekend
Las Vegas casinos are notorious for serving their patrons a few drinks while they are gambling, to loosen them up and bet a little more money than they should. However, Nevada law bars casinos from allowing patrons who are clearly intoxicated to gamble.
Mark Johnston, a 52 year old business man was just looking for a good time in Vegas during the Super Bowl weekend, until he lost $500,000 on table games. Johnston argues that because he was blackout drunk, he shouldn’t have to pay the fee. According to Mark Johnston, the casino continued to serve him liquor even though he was unable to see his cards.
Naturally, the casino believes that Mark Johnston, who earns his money by investing in real estate opportunities, is trying to find a loophole in the legal system so he doesn’t have to pay the money he so foolishly gambled away one night.
Mark Johnston’s legal team is looking into eyewitness accounts and security camera footage to try and find evidence of his noticeable intoxication. While this landmark case will be closely followed, the question remains: Did Johnston win any money that night, or did he lose $500,000 without earning a dime?
3. After turning £17 into £650,000, Bruno Venturi lost all of his earnings because of a software glitch
Although he didn’t gamble the money away, Bruno Venturi, a 41-year-old pet shop worker from Naples, Italy lost £650,000 in seconds. It started when, in three and a half hours, Bruno was able to turn a mere £17 into £650,000 while gambling on the website Eurobet UK. In the two years that he has been playing on the website, Bruno says that he has only one very small sums of money.
Unfortunately, the gambling company refused to pay Bruno his winnings, The website argued that his winnings are null and void, because of a software bug that only charged him for one in six of his bets. To add insult to injury, the website says that Bruno should have noticed that something was wrong when the website wasn’t charging him for his bets. Bruno responded by saying he couldn’t realize there was an error with the website, as there was no message to tell him.
When Bruno Venturi was asked why he stopped betting that night despite winning more money than he had ever seen in his entire life, he said “I realized the amount that I was winning and i realized that I had to stop. I had been lucky enough…I am only human.”
Sadly, the judge ruled in favour of Eurobet, and the company did not have to pay Bruno Venturi his ‘winnings’ because of a minor software bug. To add insult to injury, Eurobet fixed the software bug and further investigation revealed that Bruno Venturi actually lost £59,908 during that three and a half hour gambling binge.
2. Terrance Watanabe lost close to $127 Million in a year
Terrance Watanabe, is a business man that inherited a small fortune from his father, and is now the CEO of a company his fathered started in the 1930’s, the Oriental Trading Company. But he isn’t known for his business exploits. Instead, Terrance entered the limelight after he revealed to his family that he lost close to $127 Million in 2007 to Harrah’s Entertainment Inc in Las Vegas.
Casino employees stated that Terrance would often gamble for 24 hours straight, and lose up to $5 Million in a single day. Furthermore, Terrance was allowed to break casino rules and play three hands of blackjack at once.
The news isn’t all bad. If you look at it from the casino’s point of view, a single person was responsible for 5.6% of its Las Vegas revenue that year.
Terrance refused to pay 14.7 Million dollars that the casino gave him as credit, claiming that the casino purposefully liquored him up and slipped him pain medication so he would continue to gamble. In April 2009, the Clark Country District Attorney’s office charged Terrance Watanabe with four felony counts for intent to defraud and steal.
The casino and Terrance Watanabe settled their differences before a judge could rule on the case. Terrance Watanabe admitted he had a gambling problem, and his family encouraged him to receive counselling, which he later did.
1. Harry Kakavas lost $1.5 Billon in 14 months
Harry Kakavas, who made his fortune selling real estate on Australia’s Gold Coast, is considered one of the biggest high rollers in the world. In five and a half hours, he lost $164 million, after betting $300,000 per hand.
Harry Kakavas’ legal team states that he has a serious gambling addiction, and that casinos around the world are taking advantage of his “special disability”. His lawyer stated “What the evidence demonstrates…is that this was a man who did not and could not control his urge to gamble…”
Just like other men who have lost millions in casinos, Harry is fighting his debts in court – and this isn’t the first time that he’s had to do this. Harry has tried to recover his losses after losing $20.5 million to a casino, but the court dismissed his claim.
So, does Harry have a legitimate gambling problem? Those closest to him say that he served a minor jail sentence after stealing $286,000 and has had to borrow millions of dollars from his family, friends, and banks, in order to feed his gambling habits.