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The Story Of The Biggest Ever Casino Loss

Terrance Watanabe is a real legend in the gambling world. A businessman from Omaha, Nebraska, was a regular at Las Vegas casinos for years and earned himself the title of “the biggest loser” after dropping an estimated 127 million dollars in 2007. This story is a cautionary tale of how far someone can go if they don’t know when to quit. Interesting? Keep reading then!

Written By:   Dan James     Facts Checked By:   Charlie Morin 

Contents on this page


  • 1.

    Fun fact: the casino imported vodka from Russia, especially for him.

  • 2.

    He would often play 24 hours a day

  • 3.

    He lost $204 million in total

  • 4.

    Terry Watanabe is the biggest casino loser in history

Terrance Watanabe – The Biggest Casino Loser Ever

terry watanabe in court
Terry Watanabe in court

Terrance Watanabe is known for having one of the biggest gambling losses in history. He inherited a fortune from his father’s party-favor importing company, and he also owned a successful business selling designer clothing. Watanabe started gambling in the 1990s and quickly became a regular high roller in Las Vegas casinos.

In 2007, Watanabe moved to the Harrah’s-owned Rio Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, where he became a VIP player. The casino offered him special perks, including a private villa, a butler, and access to exclusive events. Over the course of a year, Watanabe lost a staggering $204 million, primarily playing baccarat and craps.

Watanabe’s losses were so substantial that they accounted for 5.6% of Harrah’s annual revenue that year. The casino also reportedly forgave $14.7 million of Watanabe’s debt in hopes of recouping some of the money he had lost. However, Watanabe later claimed that the casino had plied him with alcohol and painkillers to keep him gambling, and he sued Harrah’s for damages.

The lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but the Nevada Gaming Control Board fined Harrah’s $225,000 for allowing Watanabe to gamble while visibly intoxicated. In a statement, the board said that Harrah’s had failed to control and monitor its gambling activities properly.

Worth reading: we recommend our great article on how to avoid casino payment scams.

How Come He Lost So Much?

Terrance Watanabe’s tremendous losses were due to a combination of factors. First, he reportedly gambled for 18 hours a day with no breaks and very little sleep. He also took large risks on high-stakes bets that rarely paid off, and the casino showered him with expensive gifts to keep him gambling.

For example, he was playing three $50,000 hands of blackjack at a time and was able to lose $5 million in a single night! On top of that, Watanabe also had a serious gambling addiction, which drove him to make increasingly risky bets.

In addition, Watanabe’s alcohol and drug use likely impaired his judgment and made it easier for him to make bad decisions.

A Documentary On Watanabe Is Planned

Terrance Watanabe’s story has been so popular that it is even set to be made into a movie in the future. Foundation Media Partners announced in 2022 that they had acquired the rights to Watanabe’s story and planned to make a movie about it.

The film will follow the rise and fall of Terrance Watanabe, showing how he was taken advantage of by Las Vegas casinos and eventually lost almost 127 million dollars before filing a lawsuit against Harrah’s. It is expected to be a cautionary tale about the dangers of gambling addiction and the responsibility of casinos to ensure that their patrons are playing responsibly.

The movie, which does not yet have a release date or director attached, will surely be an interesting story for anyone fascinated by the dark side of gambling. We’re all eagerly anticipating its release so we can learn from Watanabe’s mistakes and take responsibility for our own gambling habits. Until then, let this serve as a reminder to play responsibly.

Terrance Watanabe: What Is He Up To Now?

terrance watanabe
Terry Watanabe 2017

We don’t know much about what he does today. All we know is that he lives in Florida and is broke. He says he doesn’t even have insurance and is not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.

In 2017, he opened a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $28,000 for medical expenses due to prostate cancer. Unfortunately, the full amount of $100,000 wasn’t reached, and Watanabe was still battling the disease in 2019.

We don’t know if he’s still gambling today, but hopefully, his story serves as a reminder that even people with fortunes can be tempted by the allure of casinos. Gambling can be an enjoyable pastime when done responsibly, but keep in mind that it can also have serious consequences if taken too far.

So, let’s all take a lesson from Terrance Watanabe and play responsibly. That way, we can avoid becoming the next biggest casino loser ever!

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Author Dan James

Online Casino Expert

Hey! I'm Dan James, and I handle everything from content writing to quality assurance at Casinofastpayout. I've been around the online gambling industry since 2015, and also did seven years as a poker pro before that.