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Caesars Fined $225K Over Not Kicking Out Belligerent High-Roller On Historic Losing Streak

Casino Company Made Some Mistakes With Handling Of Customer


In the case of legendary Las Vegas whale Terrance Watanabe, New Jersey gaming regulators decided earlier this month to fine Caesars Entertainment Corp. $225,000 for its role in the matter, making all the major parties involved look pretty lousy.

Watanabe, a wealthy self-professed gambling addict, lost more than $120 million at the high-stakes tables in 2007, but claimed that the casino maliciously loaded him up with alcohol and pain medication. Those allegations came forth when he was charged in Nevada with not paying $14.7 million loaned to him by the casino company. Caesars denied those accusations and maintains that Watanabe was lucid when taking out credit and blowing millions.

The two waring parties decided to settle in July 2010. The criminal charges were dropped and Watanabe agreed to stop proceeding with a civil suit. Watanabe reportedly ended up paying $100,000 out of the $14.7 million he owed. He had lost tens of millions already.

The nastiness was a far cry from a few years earlier when Caesars treated Watanabe like a king, according to the New Jersey letter, putting him up in the “most elegant suite” possible and having employees degrade themselves by acting as his servants (ironically in a place called Caesars Palace). According to an internal investigation by Caesars — which painted Watanabe as a jerk and a degenerate — an executive at Caesars said to give him “whatever he wants.” The goal, though perhaps impossible, was to keep him gambling.

Watanabe was so absurdly awful at gambling that Caesars agreed to give him a 30-percent rebate on his staggering losses. An employee at the casino told The Wall Street Journal in 2009 that Watanabe “made such bad decisions on the blackjack table.”

Special treatment for Watanabe went as far as to reassign employees to different areas of the casino if he didn’t like them for whatever reason. The illusion was that Watanabe ruled the place, but he obviously was sorely mistaken. He was nothing more than a mark.

In its own review, Caesars alleged that Watanabe was using marijuana and/or cocaine and made sexual advances toward employees — findings which New Jersey apparently believed and felt Caesars should have put a stop to. In other words, the casino let his behavior go way too far so it could pad its pockets and please its shareholders. However, Caesars deflected arguably the most serious of Watanabe’s allegations: allowing him to gamble his fortune away while he was visibly intoxicated. That is technically a no-no in Nevada, though, obviously, on any given night highly intoxicated people are everywhere in Las Vegas losing money.

Caesars’ findings went as far as admitting that low-level employees might have felt that they shouldn’t complain about Watanabe because management wanted him there no matter what. Instead of confronting Watanabe and kicking him out, management, according to Caesars, simply shuffled employees around if they didn’t want to work with Watanabe anymore.

Caesars claims that much of what it did to accommodate Watanabe was “necessary and appropriate,” but it admitted that it made some serious mistakes. The admission and internal adjustments were enough to please Nevada regulators, but not New Jersey.

Image via The Wall Street Journal.



over 9 years ago

Am I getting this math right?

$120,000,000 Original loss
-$14,700,000 Loan not paid back
+$100,000 Loan paid back
-$225,000 Fine
= $105,175,000 Caesers' profits

I need to open a casino.


over 9 years ago

Steve Wynn once said "If you want to make money in a casino, own one". Funny thing, how at the final table of The Big One for One Drop, I guarantee David Einhorn, Richard Yong, or Guy Laliberte each had an individual net worth greater than all the poker professionals combined. Bobby Baldwin is a special case, although year to year I bet he consistently makes more than any poker professionals. He 'won' the game, so to speak.


over 9 years ago

The smart way to make money with the casino is to own the casino stocks such as Wynn Inc., Las Vegas Sand, etc. I did not see anyone who can beat the casinos in the long term even he was a good professional gambler. At the end of the day, the winner is, most of the time, the "HOUSE". As long as you are still at the table playing, they (casino's owners) will get you.

Gambling must be considered as some kind of entertainment but not a money making business.


over 9 years ago

yes your math is off. The 14.7 million loan he just lost back to the casino and they also get to write it off as a bad loan and the taxpayers pick up the tab. Actual profit closer to 150 million.