Top 5 Craziest Gambling Losses

Top 5 Craziest Gambling Losses

February 16, 2016.

Losing is a part of the game. No matter who you are, you’re bound to have a few periods where nothing seems to go your way in the casino. If your luck has turned sour lately, look on the bright side: at least you aren’t on this list! Read on to see just how unlucky some people really are.

5. Steve Richards loses £30,000 after incredible sports betting streak

Steve Richards

A friendly Welsh roofer, Steve Richards is no stranger the world of sports betting. He spends many hours watching Cardiff City and his other favorite teams at the local pub. And back in 2013, all that knowledge almost paid off big.

Steve was riding high on an accumulator bet. It started with just £10, and 12 against-the-odds wins later, he was sitting pretty with a whopping £40,000. Most people probably would stop there, but Steve felt like he had one more win in him.

Unfortunately, his luck ran out. He put up £30,000 on the Welsh football team in a match against Australia and lost it all. He would’ve stood to win another £55,000 if his home team won, but Australia beat them 30-26 at the Millennium Stadium game.

The only good news? He was able to take it in stride – and still keep £9,000 of his winnings. He told the press, “I don't need to win the money though to improve my life as I'm very happy, and even if we did get a lot of money it would just be sat in the bank until we decided what to do with it.”

4. Mark Johnston loses half a million after having one too many

Mark Johnston

Drinking while you play can be a lot of fun, but Mark Johnston’s story shows the importance of keeping it in moderation.

The businessman from California ended up losing $500,000 worth of markers in a single night at the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas on the blackjack and pai gow tables. Let’s just say he’s not happy about it. He’s filed a lawsuit stating that the Grand had no right to lend him money in his intoxicated state, citing a Nevada law that prohibits casinos from allowing clearly drunk customers to gamble.

The businessman from California ended up losing $500,000 in a single night.

Despite happening nearly 2 years ago, the case is still pending in the Clark County Business Court. For now, at least, Johnston is still one of the unluckiest folks in the world.

3. Bruno Venturi sees €707,000 vanish in an instant an online casino

Bruno Venturi

“Malfunction voids all pays and plays.” No one has felt the sting of that little bit of fine print more than Bruno Venturi, a pet store owner from Naples, Italy.

It all started with a harmless €20 deposit. He made a few bets on the sportsbook at Eurobet UK and before he knew it, his balance was up to a mammoth €707,000 (about £650,000 at the time). He couldn’t believe his fortune!

And, as it turns out, he shouldn’t have. The wins were deemed null and void because the software wasn’t actually deducting his bets properly. In the High Court judgment that sealed the deal, it was revealed that he actually lost nearly £60,000. Oops!

2. Harry Kakavas loses $30 million after huge legal battle

Harry Kakavas

Harry Kakavas was a prominent real estate mogul in Australia, accruing more than $60 million after more than 25 years in the business. He focused on luxury properties along Hedges Avenue, one of the most envied Australian neighborhoods.

But Harry’s hard work went out the window as soon as he developed a gambling disorder.

When he discovered the Crown Casino in Melbourne, it didn’t take long for him to get hooked on the tables. Casino representatives were sure to cater to his every whim, giving him the best suites and amenities as he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Harry’s hard work went out the window as soon as he developed a gambling disorder.

Between June 2005 and August 2006, he made close to $1.5 billion in bets on the baccarat tables. The end result? A total loss of $30 million.

Harry felt as if the casino took advantage of his problem unfairly. But after a tense legal battle, the Australian courts ruled in favor of the casino. At the very least, he seems to be doing better. He’s back in the real estate business, although with less wealthy clients. In an interview with the press, he stated, “I am doing OK ... I am doing OK. I have accepted the court's decision and moved on.”

1. Terrance Watanbe blows $127 million in a single year

Terrance Watanbe

The 4 guys above some pretty awful luck, but Terrance Watanbe takes the cake when it comes to losing streaks. After he inherited the highly successful Oriental Trading Company from his deceased father, Terrance started making trips to Las Vegas.

Lots of them.

In fact, Terrance became one of the most beloved losers at Caesars Palace and Rio. Over the course of 2007, he spent hours – sometimes even whole days – on gambling binges. By the end of the year, he had gambled away $127 million.

To put that figure into perspective, Watanbe’s losses accounted for more than 1/20th of gambling revenue for the ENTIRE city of Las Vegas that year.

It’s humbling to say the least

Gambling should be about having fun. It’s important to remember to never bet what you can’t afford to lose, and to stop when you’re getting frustrated. Remember: this is one top 5 list you don’t want to end up on!