Famous Casino Losses

Most people are going to lose when they go to a casino. They might win a little here and there, but overall, their losses are likely to exceed those wins. This, after all, is how a casino works, but the fact that a win is possible and could happen – as well as the fact that the games are fun especially with amazing slots promotions– mean that people keep coming back for more. 

And for the most part, the losses they suffer are far from life changing. A few pounds here and there which they already knew they could afford to lose because they set a budget and stuck to it. 

Then there are the people who lose and lose big. They may not have set a budget, so they kept playing and playing, chasing what was once a small loss until it’s a huge one. Or they might have just thrown caution to the win and tried to win everything all at once, failing in the process. Although these stories might not make for pleasant reading, they are useful to know – they serve as a warning to us all. 

Charles ‘Not A Problem’ Barkley – £14 million loss

Charles Barkley was a champion in the NBA, winning the All-Star title eleven times. He had the most amazing career and broke all kinds of records when he was playing in the 1990s. The problem was, with all that success came a lot of money, and for someone with a gambling problem, that money became a real issue. 

Barkley, whose catchphrase was ‘not a problem’, didn’t think he had a problem with gambling, but the evidence shows otherwise. The problem was, since he felt he could afford it, it didn’t seem like a problem at all. Only it really was. Spending $60,000 on a single spin of roulette (and losing), losing $2.5 million playing blackjack in one night, and much more besides, Barkley couldn’t continue for long. And it was in 2008 that it all came to a head, with the Wynn Las Vegas casino filing a complaint against Barkley for unpaid gambling debts totalling $20 million (£14 million). 

Luckily for Barkley, he managed to get his spending under control. He still gambles – a lot – but sticks to his (very high) budget now. 

Harry Kakavas – £11 million

Harry Kakavas was an Australian billionaire who was addicted to gambling and made huge losses in his time. In just 15 months, he spent out about £1 billion – yes, billion – on casino games. Now, the good news is that he didn’t loose all of that money. The bad news is that he lost £11 million, and he couldn’t afford to do that, especially since he was in a lot of debt and had even been jailed in the past for defrauding an Australian corporation and then using that money to spend on gambling. 

After his jail time, Kakavas self-excluded himself from the Crown Casino in Melbourne, which is where he was spending the majority of his (and other people’s) money, and he managed to stay away for six years. The problem was that he was spotted in Las Vegas spending millions, and this caused the Crown Casino to try to win him back – if he was gambling again, they wanted the money he was losing. The plan worked and Kakavas went back to the Crown, where he lost a fortune.