For the average person, wagering a few hundred dollars at a casino and coming away with a loss feels like a sore blow. Winning a few hundred dollars more than what they came with is a great triumph. But there are people who simply wouldn’t even care for that.
The high rollers of the casino world. Casinos tend to refer to them as ‘Whales’, owing to the immense size of the blue whale, and of these high rollers’ wallets. Most of these high rollers are millionaires and billionaires in their own rights, but they didn’t become that rich simply by playing at casinos. They accrued their fortunes in various manners, and found casinos to be great places for spending their money and getting plenty of thrill and excitement out of games of chance.
Every high roller who patronizes a casino brings huge amounts of profit to the casino, so it’s no wonder these whales are pampered and encouraged by the casinos to come back time and time again. Some of these high rollers are businessmen and entrepreneurs. Others are politicians or national leaders, relying on vast amounts of inherited fortune. Whatever their background may be, they all find great pleasure in one activity.
A few examples would be Adnan Khashoggi, Kerry Packer, Fouad al-Zayat, and the Sultan of Brunei.
Saudi Arabian Adnan Khashoggi built his fortune in various enterprises in the Middle East, starting by helping make deals and making smaller investments such as selling vehicles. He moved onto helping settle military and defense contracts between Saudi Arabia and some western companies. Eventually, he had built a vast business empire. At the peak of his wealth, it was estimated he had nearly $4 billion in personal wealth, and he spent much of his time gambling with this money.
Kerry Packer was an Australian business magnate, owning some of the largest media broadcasting corporations in the country. His businesses also extended to numerous publications, diamonds, telecommunications and engineering. Once his fortune was established, he became interested in gambling, and won and lost a huge amount of money at the same time. A loss of 28 million dollars in London would be covered by a win of 33 million dollars in Las Vegas. He was willing to take risks easily, on one occasion spreading 25 million across four different Roulette tables.
Fouad al-Zayat, a Syrian businessman and investor built a huge fortune on different types of businesses, ranging from aviation to financial management. Being fond of gambling, he had a great outlet for his immense income and is reported to have spent over a hundred million dollars at a single casino club, Aspinalls. Some would attribute the origin of the term ‘whale’ to him.
The Sultan of Brunei is immensely wealthy, though not quite the gambler as the rest of the people on this list. Despite his $40 billion personal wealth, his gambling expenditures stay within the hundreds of millions as his wealth also belongs partly to his nation.
It’s quite telling how so many wealthy people heavily invest in gambling, and this stands true for a lot of people who are not so wealthy. It seems casinos and gambling have a mysterious allure that promises excitement and opportunity balanced on the edge of chance.