Life as a high roller- What’s the reality at casinos?

High roller casinos

Almost all the gamers at casinos want to be called high rollers. But that doesn’t happen all the time for most of the punters. If you have money and you wager large sums on pokies, poker and table games you are high roller. Then you start receiving lavish comps, personal hosts, private jets, and best suites to stay at the casino along with other offers. All this is thrown to you so that you spend more money at casinos specially on wagering large sums on table games and keep the casino business going.  Also your hard earned money add revenue to their biz and they keep on making such environment at the casino floor with glamour and entertainment so that you spend at least AU$50,000 to AU$75000 at the games table.

High rollers at Australian casinos

High roller crown casino Australia

High roller players in Vegas spend lot in comparison to high rollers of Australia in their local casinos like the Crown Melbourne. In Australia limits of AU$300,000 are common, in Las Vegas they are between US$150,000 and $300,000, and in Macau they are up to US$500,000. Only casinos with “substantial financial firepower” can accommodate high-stakes gambling due to the volatility of results.

High rollers may also be subject to exceptions from various rules and regulations; for example the high roller rooms at Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia are the only licensed venue in the state not subject to a ban on smoking.

The background of high rollers

If you are thinking that high rollers are richest people and come from blue blood or royal families then you are mistaken on their background identity. John Eidsmoe, in his book Legalized Gambling: America’s Bad Bet, claims that it is actually gamblers from the lower and lower-middle classes in the United States that provide much of the gambling money. The occasional wealthy ‘high roller’ does indeed exist, but it is the exception, not the standard. Does casinos generate revenue from high rollers at the tables? The fact that more than 50% of Nevada’s gambling income comes from slot machines as opposed to the card tables should be an indication high rollers are not the main source of revenue.

High rollers and gambling addictions

Crown Casino High roller

One example of a high roller is an Australian man who turned over more than A$1.5 billion in a 14-month period from 2005, becoming “one of Crown’s largest Australian players but not in the same league as its top international players”. There have been many cases around the world where high rollers have committed fraud to provide funds for gambling beyond their means, after becoming seduced by the lifestyle. This was the case with famed gambler Terrance Watanabe who reputedly lost over $220M in Las Vegas over a 5-year period, and was ultimately sued by Caesars Entertainment for failing to pay up on markers he took out during the binge totaling $14.75M. 

While high rollers may not provide a significant portion of the revenues in the casino industry as a whole, they can have a major effect on the net income of casinos that cater to them. There are significant costs associated with attracting the highest-stakes gamblers, so if a casino takes this chance and the high roller wins, the casino’s expenses can be extremely large. Likewise, if the casino’s investment pays off and the high roller loses, the casino’s gain can far exceed its expenses for the high roller’s visit.

So the reality of casinos remains essentially the same the world over and they prey on the poor and enable if not tacitly encourage gambling addiction.

The chief problem with casinos is that their business model often directly targets deindustrialized towns and beleaguered working class regions whose residents do not have expendable income to waste. The well off can also get slammed, such as Justyn Larcombe, who lost 750,000 British pounds, forcing him to move back to his mom’s house at age 43. Larcombe has now paid off all that debt thanks to a lucrative career, but his story is far from typical. Many who lose it all to gambling don’t have the skills or safety net to rebound. Around 4 percent of Americans have a “problematic” or even “pathological” gambling addiction and the number is higher in Australia.