The Biggest Losses in the History of Casinos

By Gavin Harper Updated: May 2023

Who likes losing? Well, nobody. Even if it’s a sports event or school competition, nobody wants to face defeat. Gambling is an entertaining sport that includes lots of risk, huge wins, and huge losses as well.

For decades, casino buffs have been trying their luck spinning the reels at online pokies and playing their favourite table games. Some players become well-known for winning millions while others become known for facing huge losses. In this article, we have listed some of the biggest losses in the history of casinos.

One Bet Cost Steve Richards £30,000 in Rugby Bets

A 56-year-old roofing worker and a passionate bettor, Steve Richards faced a gigantic loss of £30000 in a single bet. He acknowledged that betting is his passion and he used to eagerly wait to place bets on sports every week. He had won several small bets until he faced a huge loss in rugby.

On one fortunate day, Steve placed a stake of £10 in an accumulator and earned more than £38,000 by accurately predicting the outcomes of 12 football matches.  After successfully winning this huge amount, Steve decided to place another bet of £30,000, but unfortunately, he lost a large number of his winnings when Australia beat Wales.

Steve, however, was not so disappointed after losing as he thought it was a bit of bad luck and he already had £9,000 in his pocket. Steve was happy placing bets and enjoyed the thrilling experience, but he decided that he won’t place any bet again against the Wales team in a rugby match. 

Drunk Mark Johnston Lost $500,000 at a Las Vegas Casino

A few drinks at a Las Vegas Casino during the Super Bowl Weekend made 52-year-old Californian, Mark Johnston lose $500,000. Mark Johnston is a millionaire and owned several car dealerships. He is also involved in real estate development.

According to Johnston, he was completely intoxicated and was not in shape to gamble when he arrived at the Downtown Grand Casino in Las Vegas. Despite his drunken state, he was served drinks while he gambled. He could not easily see the cards but the casino staff let him drink liquor and gamble.

It is worth noting that Nevada laws don’t permit casinos to allow drunk gamblers to play. After leaving the casino, Mark Johnston went to his room. The next day, he had no memories of the casino as he was heavily drunk the previous night.

He sued the Las Vegas Casino for his debt of $500,000. His attorney is looking into the matter and finding evidence through eyewitnesses and camera footage to reveal the truth.

A Software Bug Wiped Away £650,000 Winnings for Italian Bruno Venturi

Unfortunately, a man from Italy, Bruno Venturi who claimed about £650,000 while playing a casino game won’t get a penny as the gaming machine was found to be affected by a software virus. The attorney stated that Eurobet UK Limited had no compulsion to pay Bruno his winnings.

Bruno said that he won a huge amount on the gaming website but the casino told him that his winnings were created because of a software bug and he could not claim it. He took legal action against the Eurobet Company stating that he followed the guidelines given on the website when placing bets. Bruno also said that he hadn’t got any warning of the software bug error throughout the time he was playing.

Nevertheless, the attorney considers it as a simple and straightforward case and argued that the complications triggered by the software bug created an error, which annulled any compulsion that Eurobet UK Ltd. might otherwise have had to pay.

Terrance Watanabe Lost $127 Million in a Year

In 2007, Terrance Watanabe lost more than $127 million during a year-long gambling journey at the Rio Casinos and Caesars Palace. His loss also profited the parent company of these casinos, Harrah’s Entertainment as they received approximately 5.6% of the revenue from Terrance Watanabe.

This loss is found to be the hugest losing event by any player in the Las Vegas casino history. Terrance lost all the fortune that he created in the last 20 years by running an import business, the Oriental Trading Company of his father in Omaha.

Watanabe is of course not happy with this gigantic loss. He declined to give back the $14.7 million that he was given as a credit by the casino. He sued the casinos stating that they served him with drinks, food, drugs along with other ‘special services’ to make him stay in the casino for a long time.

However, casino staff argued that Terrance would often stay in the casino for several hours and used to gamble non-stop. He will lose up to $5 million in a single day. He also used to break the casino rules and play three hands of blackjack simultaneously. His family has encouraged him to go for counselling.

Australian Player, Harry Kakavas Lost $1.5 Billion

If you are a casino buff from Australia, you will be interested to learn about Australian high roller, Harry Kakavas. He is the famous high roller of Crown Casino in Melbourne; however, Harry sued them stating that they tried to take advantage of his gambling addiction.

According to the report, Harry lost about $1.5 billion in the casino in 2005 and 2006. He used to play baccarat where he lost a huge amount of money quickly. In May 2006, he lost $146 million in just a few hours. He has appealed to get his $20 million back but his bid has been declined so far.

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