Why it Pays to Be a Whale: High Rollers & the Gambling Perks

It Pays to Be a Whale: Whales are a rare breed of gamblers who generally bet more than $300k a hand... They enjoy multi-million dollar lines of credit at the most luxurious casinos in the world… and baccarat is their game. Fearless, fickle and always in demand, these ridiculously big spenders have one aim in mind; to break the bank as quickly as they can. It’s a high stakes game of cat and mouse, where casino bosses are prepared to cater to their every whim. The objective is to earn a cut of the multi-billion dollar market segment by snaring a portion of the high roller’s purse. Succeed and the net income at the casino soars. Fail and the profits are down but only for a short while, as the coffers are soon filled by folk like you and me who flock to Vegas, Toronto and Macau for our gambling spree.

Whales and Wild Bets

By definition, whales are super wealthy gaming buffs who kick off a wild weekend at the casino with around $5 million to $10 million in their pockets. They’re not afraid to bet big and are regularly seen throwing chips to the value of an average annual salary on the baccarat table in one go.  Whether they win or lose, the dealer always comes off best as he or she is in line for a tip of around $3,500 in crisp hard cash.

Big Winners

Image Source: bbc.co.uk There have been plenty of big winners at the casinos over the years but none more so than Australian media mogul, Kerry Packer.  The affable Aussie with a penchant to punt has recorded some impressively large payouts in double quick time. He banked a quick-fire £2.5 million at the Clermont Club and Casino in Mayfair and followed up the great big GBP cash coup with a massive $35 million return at the MGM Casino in Vegas.  It took him exactly 40 minutes to turn his USD bankroll into pure gold. Saudi arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi is another wealthy gambler who loved to wager and win.  His return of £3.2 million may be small fry compared to Packer but the bosses at London’s Ritz Casino were alarmed nonetheless.

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Sore Losers

Kerry Packer may win frequently but he also lives life on the edge.  A few years back, the Australian lost $33 million over three days playing baccarat at the Bellagio Casino. It is Packer’s countryman and Gold Coast real estate billionaire, Harry Kakavas who claims the Kudos for the biggest loser of all time. He blew $1.5 billion at the Crown Casino in Melbourne in just 12 months. Fouad al-Zayat - aka The Fat Man - is another hapless harbinger of really bad luck.  The Syrian businessman lost $42 million in a prolonged 12 year losing streak. Quite why he didn’t figure out the gambling gods were not on his side is anyone’s guess!

Player Perks with Whales in Mind

Image Source: creatingdomperignon.com Gambling whales may win or lose but they always enjoy simply spectacular casino comps and player perks.  Fully paid vacations, the private use of the casino’s limousine or bombardier or Lear jet and packages full of kickback cash are the norm for the likes Packer and friends. They are put up in the 5-star Penthouse suite, wooed with more Dom Pérignon, Armand de Brignac or Krug than they can possibly drink and escorted to celebrity-fueled parties by dedicated VIP service managers.  They enjoy fine dining by cordon bleu chefs and are extended lines of credit that would make the tinpot dictator of a small island nation blink in surprise!

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