Caesars Fined $225k For Poor Handling Of $127m Losing WhaleMarch 28, 2013 3:57 pm
Caesars Entertainment Corp has been handed a $225,000 fine by New Jersey gaming regulators for its part in the case of Terrance Watanabe, 52, a rich businessman who in 2007 went on one of the biggest losing streaks in Las Vegas history. That’s when the self-confessed gambling addict lost around $127 million at Caesars Palace and Rio casinos, accounting for 5.6% of Harrah’s Entertainment’s Las Vegas gambling revenue that year.
However, after the casino tried to retrieve a $14.7 million outstanding loan from Mr Watanabe, the Nebraska businessman took the casino to court claiming Harrah’s had plied him with alcohol and painkillers whilst gambling. The civil suit was later reportedly settled by the two parties for $100,000.
Apparently, as a gambler Terrance Watanabe was unbelievably bad and at the time Caesars even gave him a 30% rebate on his losses. Painting an unflattering picture of their one time special customer, Caesars also alleged that Terrance Watanabe used cocaine, marijuana and made sexual advances toward their staff. Nevertheless, the casino still bent over backwards to ensure he remained a customer and afforded him special treatment, including reassigning employees he didn’t like.
Ironically, New Jersey gaming regulators saw this as an example of the casino allowing his behavior to go unchecked in order to line its own pockets, which proved important in imposing the $225,000 fine. All the same, Caesars still maintains there treatment of Mr Watanabe was “necessary and appropriate,” and denied allowing him to gamble while visibly intoxicated. During his court case, Mr. Watanabe alleged that in 2007 he was barred from the Wynn casino for compulsive drinking and gambling, but continued to be welcomed at Harrah’s Caesars and Rio casinos.