Terrance Watanabe (born 1962) is an American businessman who inherited Oriental Trading Company, a direct merchant of value-priced party supplies, arts and crafts, toys and novelties and school supplies founded by his father Harry Watanabe. Terrance was known for the large amounts of money he wagered at Las Vegas casinos.
In 1977, Terry Watanabe became president and part owner of Oriental Trading Company shifting the focus from carnivals to supplying party goods for churches, schools, retailers, and individuals.
In 2000, Watanabe sold his entire stake in the company to Los Angeles-based private equity firm Brentwood Associates, and resigned as CEO and President. He became a philanthropist, but subsequently lost most of his fortune gambling in Las Vegas.
After selling his company, Watanabe became know for his lavish gambling habits. In 2007, he was reported to have lost $127 million at Caesar's Palace and The Rio in Las Vegas after having gambled a total of $825 million. He was banned from Wynn Las Vegas for compulsive gambling. Watanabe is estimated to have lost approximately $204 million.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation was fined $225,000 by the New Jersey Gaming Commission for allowing Watanabe to continue gambling in a highly intoxicated state, though Watanabe's losses occurred in Las Vegas. Caesars alleges that Watanabe "was using marijuana and/or cocaine and made sexual advances toward employees". Caesars Rewards created a special tier for him known as "Chairman" which ranks above "Seven Stars". Watanabe received "tickets to the Rolling Stones, $12,500 a month for airfare and $500,000 in credit at the gift stores. Harrah's also offered 15% cash back on table losses greater than $500,000, special high-limit games and other incentives".
- "Metro/Region". Omaha.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- Berzon, Alexandra (December 5, 2009). "The Gambler Who Blew $127 Million". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
- Riedel, David (2010-05-26). "Gambling Philanthropist Loses More Than $200 Million". CBS News. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
- Weisenthal, Joe (December 6, 2009). "Meet The Man Who Blew $127 Million And Most Of His Family's Fortune Gambling In Vegas". Retrieved November 20, 2018.
- Sheldon, David. "What Happens to the Biggest Gambling Losers?". Casino.org. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
- Guill, James (2013-09-27). "Poker's Greatest All-Time Whales: Terrance Watanabe". Pokerlistings. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
- Pempus, Brian (2013-03-21). "Caesars Fined $225K Over Not Kicking Out Belligerent High-Roller On Historic Losing Streak". cardplayer.com. Retrieved 9 September 2019.