Gambler Loses $127 million in Vegas | Don McNay

Most recent is Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win The Lottery

That is because slot machines make huge profits for casinos. It shows the world that problem-gambling has a downside and a cost.

Now he is looking at criminal charges. He inherited an incredible business from his father, importing party favors. She wondered why her husband, who is a big-stakes poker player, was never offered any comps.

McNay is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations in the financial services field.

Stock brokers are governed by “know your customer” rules, and more than one broker has been busted for letting a trading client get out of control. Until he tapped out of money.

-Bob Seger

The casinos have smart business people running them. He sold the business in 2000 and developed a new hobby, gambling.

I’ve watched a lot of “whales,” inside the casino and out, blow through big money. You can read more about both at

Most of us can get by on $17 million. One of the most fascinating things I noted was how casinos use their “rewards cards” to track the spending and gambling habits of their patrons.

If he had stopped gambling after dropping $100 million, he would have been left with at least $17 million.

McNay has Master’s Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American College and is in the Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

In casino circles, the name they use to refer to people who gamble big money is “whales.” And they call people who are lousy gamblers “suckers.”

They weren’t going to throw Watanable out of the casino for card counting. That is why they target “whales” like Terrance Watanabe.

Beautiful loser

Where you gonna fall?

When you realize

You just can’t have it all

You can read more about Don at

A friend told me that she liked to play slot machines. In Vegas, they put you in jail if you stiff a casino. She was constantly bombarded by the casino with “comps,” such as free dinners, free rooms and all kinds of things to entice her to gamble. You have to wonder if he was ever going to figure out that gambling wasn’t for him.

The Wall Street Journal, as well as some other publications, tell Watanabe’s story. Apparently, Watanabe was not cut out for gambling in any form. A lot of people who blow money have an entourage or lots of hangers-on. They don’t have that much money.

Cutting off a loser makes good business sense. Casinos don’t make much money on poker.. His own attorney says that Watanabe “takes full responsibility for his condition at the time…He’s not saying that ‘the devil made me do it.’”

This makes Terrance Watanabe the ultimate “sucker whale.”

And who could go to jail for not paying his bets after the money ran out.

On the other hand, corporately-owned casinos don’t have the kind of regulations that stock and commodities traders have. He was considered a “house” player because he liked slot machines and roulette, where the odds heavily favor the casino. In fact, they weren’t going to throw him out for anything. They don’t even follow the norms and mores of the way casinos were run when the mafia ran them.

McNay has written two books. He claims they plied him with booze and drugs to keep him gambling.

I have seen people lose their houses, their savings and their lives because of problem gambling.

Few problem gamblers run through $127 million. It doesn’t appear that Watanable did. But it seems that he was more of a loner.

Watanabe is suing the casinos. I grew up around gamblers and bookies who would frequently get together and cut-off “suckers” who were on their way to going broke.

Who had “friends” at the casino until he ran out of money.

In one year Watanabe lost $127 million to two Las Vegas casinos.

Baccarat is a game that is a favorite of whales.

The Wall Street Journal noted that even though revenues from all gambling declined by 19% in the last 12 months, spending increased from people playing Baccarat.

McNay is an award winning, syndicated financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor.

I’m not a whale, or even a tiny minnow, but Baccarat is one of the few casino games I will play. Having a client go completely bust is bad publicity for a casino, in particular, and for gambling, in general. He did a lot of stupid things, such as going to a supermarket, buying all the steaks and handing them to casino employees. At least for a little while.

Watanable was a lousy whale. That is because the odds give the gambler closer to an even break against the house.

No one is going to feel sorry for a guy like Watanabe.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is one of the world’s leading authorities in helping people deal with “Big Money” issues.

McNay founded McNay Settlement Group, a structured settlement and financial consulting firm, in 1983 and Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC in 2000. Terrance ponied up $117 million but balked the additional $14.7 million the casinos claim that he owes.

Earlier this year, I read an excellent book about casinos, Winner Takes All, by Christina Brinkley. The casino assigned him “handlers” and one of them said, “The way he played blackjack, he made it a house game.”

A loner with a lot of money.

Watanable had big problems and his seemingly unlimited stream of money made matters worse

Posted May 2nd, 2015 in Uncategorized.

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