Big Spenders Big Day in Court

We all have our bad days at the tables and usually know when to throw in the towel and just stop betting. And that’s the joy of getting rakeback of course, at least you get something back from a bad day’s poker. But it seems that Nebraska businessman Terrance Watanabe just could not see it was time to call it quits on the tables and managed to lose $127 million US dollars. it is believed to be the biggest losing streak ever recorded. Not a title that anyone would really aim to capture, but after betting more than $825 million in Caesars Palace and Rio Casino in 2007, Mr Watanabe has definitely earned it.

The story does not end there however as the high flier now says that the casino was playing dirty and plyed him with alcohol and prescription drugs as a means to get him to continue playing! His lawyer has appeared on Good Morning America and said “It’s a tragedy, Mr. Watanabe’s a tragedy. He was so addicted and so out of it, he didn’t really realize what was going on.” Mr Pierce O’Donnell has taken the case as Mr Watanabe has been charged with felony counts as he has refused to pay the final debt of $14 million to the casinos and could see up to 28 years in prison.

Mr Watanabe and his lawyer have decided to file a civil action against the casino under the accusation that they purposefully kept him intoxicated with free drinks and painkillers. He says that it was clear to anyone in the casino that he was incapacitated and should have been removed from the floor. Watanabe was drinking “two to three bottles of vodka a day,” all supplied by Harrah’s employees, O’Donnell said. “And they gave him highly addictive pills, eight or 10 a day,” O’Donnell said. “Sometimes in a candy box.”

In a letter to the casino, Mr Watanabe has requested that Harrah’s Entertainment drop the charges against him. Watanabe, the former owner of popular mail-order retailer Oriental Trading Co., also contacted the Nevada Gaming Commission, after which the agency opened its own investigation into the matter to determine whether Harrah’s violated gambling regulations. The casino however believes it is their duty to bring the charges to court and Mr Watanabe be charged with passing bad checks and fraud. He is now in a gambling addiction recovery program.

During his wild binges at the casino, Mr Watanabe said he would gamble 24 hours a day, playing three $50,000 hands of Blackjack at a time and losing as much as $5 million in a single day.

The casino laid on a suite for his use during his stays and would provide him with imported vodka and three concierge attendants. Mr Watanabe does have a history of problems with casinos. He has actually been banned by the mogul Steve Wynn when he came across Mr Watanabe gambling in Wynn casino in 2006. His lawyer is claiming this court action is not just about his debt. “He’s standing up not just for himself but for other people who have a problem gambling,” O’Donnell said.

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