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High Stakes Friday, 26 January, 2001, 12:18 GMT
High Stakes: Winners and losers
High Stakes: Winners & losers

The 'Whales'

These players are an elite group of high rollers being wooed by casinos across the world.

The competition for the wealthy high-stake players is increasing among the casino operators.

They are flown in private casino jets to Las Vegas, Melbourne and Asia and are put up in the resorts' most luxurious suites.

Kerry Packer
Kerry Packer can win or lose millions in one night
There are probably only a handful of players who really scare the big casino owners, gamblers such as Adnan Khashoggi and billionaire businessman Kerry Packer.

Packer is renowned for his enormous wins and losses at cards. Last year he was reported to have lost 20 million US dollars over the course of a weekend playing baccarat in Las Vegas.

On meeting a Texan oil man worth $50 million, Packer is reputed to have asked him if he would toss for it.

The 'Cheats'

Casinos now spend a vast amount of money on their surveillance operation, desperate to weed out those who try to beat the system.

As well as the cheats, there are those who use their skill quite legitimately who have also been banned.

World memory champion and card counter Dominic O'Brien, for example, has been barred by many casinos.

 CLICK HERE TO WATCH SOME FORMER CASINO CHEATS.....

The 'Winners'

Stuart Wheeler
Stuart Wheeler: a cautious gambler

Stuart Wheeler, multi-millionaire and chairman of the spread betting company, IG Group, is an extremely shrewd gambler.

For him, gambling is an academic exercise where you make money by researching your subject and playing the odds.


The triumph of my gambling career was being thrown out of Caesar's Palace...at 6 o'clock on a Sunday morning, because they realised that I was playing the system.

Stuart Wheeler
This is reflected in his love of games such as poker and backgammon, both games involving skill rather than luck.

In the 1997 General Election he won 30,000 betting on a Tory defeat. He recently donated them 5 million.

The 'Losers'

In 1965, footballers Peter Swan and David Layne bet 50 that Ipswich Town would beat Sheffield Wednesday (the team they played for). They did, 2-0.

The case went to court. They were found guilty of "conspiracy to defraud", banned from English football for life and sent to jail for 4 months.


We weren't criminals, we were kids and they put us in prison...for a gambling bet

Peter Swan

Peter Swan had played for England 19 times and may well have been included in the 1966 World Cup-winning England side...had he not placed a 50 bet on the other team winning.

By the time their life-time ban was lifted 10 years later, their best playing days were over.


Internet Links:

The Racing Post

Links to more High Stakes stories are at the foot of the page.


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