Meet Terrance Watanabe - The Gambler Who Blew $100 Million
Casino players are just as interesting as the games they play: craps, roulette, baccarat, or poker… and this is the story of Terrance Watanabe, a gambler blew more than $100 million and was later labelled as the “biggest of the biggest whales”. Terrance Watanabe inherited his father’s million-dollar business in 1977, where he remained the CEO for several years before finally selling his whole share of the company to a private equity firm. The fortune he received from the sale of the company would be wasted on his uncontrollable gambling and drinking.
In 2007, Terry took a trip to Las Vegas and spent an entire year gambling at different casinos, enjoying the gains and slowly wasting away his personal fortune. He gambled so much to the point that his money totalled to around 6% of total revenue made by the casinos owned by Harrah. In honor of him spending so much on their casinos, the Harrah’s casinos created a new high roller tier for him, known as the “chairman”, which was their most prestigious reward level that consisted of free tickets, airfare tickets worth $12,500 a year, along with $500,000 in gift shop credit.
This was a gift awarded to him for gambling around $120 million in only a matter of a year. Terrance’s gambling binge lasted only until he blew it all away in the late 2008, and kept asking his sister for financial help. After he came to the realization about how much money he had spent in casinos, totalling over $200 million, he took responsibility for his actions and went into rehab in a center in Omaha.