Watanabe is facing criminal charges being brought by the casino because of claims that he still owes approximately $15 million in gambling debts, and if convicted faces up to 28 years behind bars. Read more about this suit and weigh in with your opinion below.
The interesting thing about this case is not that a gambling addict sues casino for losses, but instead that this is not the first time it has happened. Terrance Watanabe ran the Oriental Trading Company and amassed a personal fortune from over two decades of running his families business. According to the Wall Street Journal the business was sold and Watanabe was quoted in an Omaha, Nebraska newspaper stating the following:
After the sale, Mr. Watanabe said his plan was to throw himself into his philanthropic work and have more fun. “If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing,” Mr. Watanabe told his hometown newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald, in 2000
Sounds like he had a little too much fun playing at the casinos. In April of this year, the Clark County District Attorney charged Watanabe with four counts of intent to defraud and steal nearly $15 million Harrah’s claims it is still owed.
Watanabe claims that Harrah’s gave him alcohol and fed his addictions all in an effort to keep him coming back and spending more and more money. All told it is estimated that Watanabe placed more than $580 million in bets and lost approximately $127 million. He claims that Harrah’s is responsible for the losses and that he is the victim in this case. When asked about the suit a Harrah’s executive stated the following:
“We’re in the gambling business,” Jones told the Journal. “We had no reason to believe that Terry Watanabe was anything other than a big player with huge resources who made an adult decision to bet the money he did. Are we going to provide an environment that keeps him very happy? Of course we are.”
My take on this is that Watanabe bears responsibility for his actions and it will be difficult to prove that the casino caused him to lose so much money. Of course you are going to get free drinks if you spend a lot of money at a casino. These casinos do anything they can to lure high money players into their casinos. The question becomes did they cross the line. I believe that if the Casino really did provide prescription drugs to Watanabe, and if there was a conscious effort to exploit an obviously impaired man then he might be able to mitigate some of his losses, but all in all it’s a tough road to hoe for Terrance Watanabe if he’s going to succeed as he sues Harrah’s Casino for his losses.
Check out this video giving a tour of Cesar’s Palace, the flagship Casino of Harrah’s.
So what’s your opinion on this strange story where a self proclaimed gambling addict sues casino for his losses? I am guessing the suit will be thrown out, but if Watanabe can prove any of his claims that the casino should be responsible for the losses because they knowingly took advantage of him while impaired then it might turn out differently. I’d love to hear what you have to say.