Criminal Charges Halted Against Gambler Who Lost $127 Million At CasinoJuly 13, 2010 10:49 am
A gambler who lost over $127 Million at Harrah’s casinos and then defaulted on an outstanding $14.7 million debt with the group, has avoided criminal prosecution after a confidential deal was accepted between Terrance K. Watanabe and Harrah’s Entertainment casinos.
The 53-year-old high roller and gambling addict faced up to 28 years in prison after writing almost $15 million worth of bad cheques at Caesars Palace and the Rio hotel-casino.
However, Watanabe vehemently denied he had intentionally written the bad cheques and countered the law suit with claims that he had been unlawfully encouraged to gamble by Harrah’s, who kept him continually intoxicated with a cocktail of drink and prescription drugs.
As criminal defense lawyer Robert Langford explains, the attention that the case has put on Harrah’s with the Nevada Gaming Control Board has put the company “in a horrible position” and definitely created “an image problem” for the world’s largest gambling company.
Watanabe, who was due to face felony charges a week from now when the trial was slated to begin, is currently free on a $1.5 million bail and is now holding a series of confidential arbitrations in order to reach a settlement with Harrah’s.
In the meantime, both sides have agreed to freeze their criminal charges and civil lawsuits while they come up with deal that will satisfy the parties involved.