Harry Kakavas | The Man Who Gambled $1.5 Billion

Harry Kakavas was once the top dog when it came to real-estate in Australia. He made his fortune by selling houses on the Gold Coast. In his spare time he was also one of Australia’s biggest ever gamblers and in 14 months, from June 2005,  Kakavas staked over $1.5 billion on baccarat at the Crown Casino. He was, as rumours go, placing bets of up to $300,00 a hand and in the end lost nearly $30 million. This was all the money he had – and then some – after borrowing money off banks and friends under the guise they were investing in property – and not Kakavas playing blackjack .

Kakavas was already a big deal in Las Vegas, after losing millions on the infamous strip, not playing blackjack or roulette – no, instead he played the popular high roller game baccarat. James Packer – of Crown Resorts Casinos – lured Kakavas over to Australia with the promise of a luxury hotel suite, a dedicated limo, a private jet and all the food and drink that he desires. Crown Resort even flew the magnate to and from the Philippines for a courtesy holiday. He was even awarded a cardboard box full of money, which was dubbed as ‘luck money.’ The total cost of these investments totalled $10 million.  These investments most definitely worked.

Kakavas suffered from heavy losses, such as $2.3 million in just 28 minutes, and continued to lose until he spent every last penny he had. Kakavas then attempted to sue the casino for letting him play, but this case was thrown out by the courts and a clear message was made – they will not give money back to genuine losers. You see, Kakavas sued on the principal that they knew he was a compulsive gambler and they took advantage by luring him with free offers. Justice David Harper decided that the law should not and does not allow those who have gambled to recoup their money, and unless it is, casinos are free to do what they like.

Kakavas was reported to be devastated with the result, and as rumours go, was looking forward to a successful verdict. Apparently just weeks before the verdict was to be released, Crown Casino Resorts were looking to settle with Kakavas; James Packer, after deliberation decided to go back on the offer, and was pleased to see the court case go the other way.

Either way, this was one of the most destructive session of gambling in the Australia’s history.  Keep up to date with the latest news and more by bookmarking the Lucky Nugget Blog!