Whales Get Beached

Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson recently revealed that big time gamblers had flown from Singapore to Las Vegas casinos.

These “whales” (as they are referred to in the gambling world) from Singapore are usually male, they enjoy playing baccarat, and they bet anywhere from S$5,000 to S$200,000 a game.

The reward for betting big? Casinos worldwide dangle free hotel stays and food, and for a privileged few, free flights on private jets.

It is estimated there are 200 to 300 high rollers here.

One infamous Singapore high roller, Chia Teck Leng, former finance manager of Asia Pacific Breweries, was sentenced to a 42-year jail term in 2004. He had swindled four banks of more than S$100 million with fictitious documents and gambled away part of that loot in casinos.

But while high rollers may be attracted to the IRs opening here soon, Singapore’s own premium gamblers are likely to stay away.

High rollers never want their identity to be revealed, so they would rather not gamble in their home country.

They probably still prefer Vegas.

That’s where whales like Terrance Watanabe used to hang out.

Watanabe lost US$127 million gambling at Vegas.

He is suing the casinos, claiming they ought to share part of the blame as they routinely piled him with booze as part of a systematic plan to keep him gambling.

He’s unlikely to win.

The house always wins.

Don’t those suckers who visit casinos know that?

That’s why when I visit casinos, I always stand behind gamblers and watch and gamble mentally, in my mind.

That’s how I lost my mind.

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