There’s nothing quite like the thrill of watching a high-roller place an eye-watering bet at the roulette wheel or play a blinding hand of poker, entirely unafraid of the the huge amounts of money often at stake and willing to risk it all for the chance to walk away with an even bigger stack of cash. While most of us head to the casino for a little light entertainment, for these so-called ‘whales’, it’s about much more than that – and when you have millions you can afford to lose without too much upset, why not have some fun and enjoy the adrenaline that comes with attracting an audience of incredulous onlookers while you bet up a storm?
Granted, it’s not for everyone – but many wealthy casino players have seen great success in playing in such a risky manner. Whether having a flutter at the card table or preparing to blow it all on a game of baccarat, their custom certainly doesn’t go unnoticed by casino providers either, who have scrambled to create the most enticing VIP programmes in a bid to keep them coming back for more. From luxury holidays to free hotel stays, the more money you have to play with, the more you’ll get in return. But with such willingness to dish out the freebies in exchange for their loyalty, what exactly is left for them to spend their hard-won money on?
From luxury yachts to penthouse suites – and perhaps even a private island or two – here, we take a look at what some of the world’s biggest high rollers love to spend their money on. With billions to splurge and not enough time in which to do so, these guys don’t do anything by halves – and suffice it to say that they take living the champagne lifestyle to a whole new level – because if you can afford to, then why not?
The Sultan of Brunei
Once crowned the world’s richest man, the Sultan of Brunei certainly isn’t shy when it comes to placing some truly stunning bets at the casino – and, after a string of substantial wins, he clearly enjoys spending his money in just about any way he can. The proud owner of a fleet of over 7,000 luxury vehicles totalling upwards of $5 billion, he counts over 300 Ferraris and 600 Rolls Royces amongst his sizable collection. But its his fleet of lavish private jets that have been his biggest spend of all, with his current asset evaluation topping a mind-blowing $40 billion.
So, what can we expect from him in the casino? The real question is, what can’t you? Famed for once placing a record $250,000 chips all over a roulette wheel at a Vegas casino – not just once, but per spin – this is one high-roller who is not afraid of anything.
Still the second-biggest whale in the world since his rise to financial prominence in the 80s, Adnan Khashoggi accrued his wealth by brokering arms deals. Once estimated to be worth around $4 billion, Adnan enjoyed playing in some of the world’s most exclusive casinos and apparently had a soft spot for both Blackjack and Baccarat. How did he choose to spend his winnings before his death in 2017? In many extravagant ways. He is once thought to have spent over $6 million on a birthday party, owned three private jets, and an $80 million superyacht comprising bullet-proof glass and a solid gold sink.
It’s business tycoon Kerry Packer who is widely recognised as one of the biggest high-rollers in the world, having splurged $450,000 on a game of Blackjack, amongst his many high-rolling moments of note. A regular on the scene for more that 40 years, he is once thought to have gambled his way through $28 million in a single splurge in London, but then again, he has been known to win considerably more in one sitting, too, walking away $33 million richer after a night of high-rolling in Vegas.
His favourite way to spend his money? Kerry is a super keen polo fan and owns several horses, as well as being responsible for the funding and creation of the Ellerstina polo team and exclusive polo club, Elliston. Add to that some lavish holidays, private jets and various other extravagances, and suffice it to say that he’s pretty easy going when it comes to opening his wallet.