The Biggest and Best Casino Trivia Ever
Gambling has been around for absolutely ages. It’s highly possible it even pre-dates humanity, when Mrs Neanderthal was first able to bet with her friends how long Mr Neanderthal would take to tame the rambunctious sabretooth tiger. The history of gambling and the history of humanity are inextricably linked, and evidence for it keeps rearing its head. The first documented evidence was found in China, with the discovery of lottery betting slips dating from 2300 BC.
Casinos are a more formalised and regimented way in which to host permittable gambling, in a world that has realised the potential dangers associated with it. Even these gambling houses have been around for donkey’s years, with the earliest current casino game, baccarat, emerging in Italy and France in the 1400s. Consequently, here in the 21st century, there is plenty of room for manoeuvre; plenty of information to work with when compiling compelling gambling and casino trivia. So, read on for just that and for a chance to impress your friends with some of the biggest and boldest worldwide and UK casino stats and gambling trivia.
The Biggest Wins….Ever
If you find yourself welling up in a jealous rage whenever the latest lottery winner is announced, you are going to hate this. Some truly staggering sums of money have changed hands through the years. Many of the lucky winners have chosen to remain anonymous, and understandably so. Having 200 people trying to act like they’ve always been your best friend all of a sudden, does not make for an easy life. Fortunately, some big winners chose to tell the world, or at least, they didn’t have a choice in the matter.
Away from the casino, gloriously ludicrous victories have also emerged, and some of the greatest gambling facts in the UK have spawned from sports betting. Take Darren Yeats from Morecambe, who inexplicably bet £59 on Frankie Dettori winning all seven races at Ascot in 1996. The odds were 25,000-1, but wee Franky came up trumps for Mr Yeats, who pocketed £550,000 for his implausible punt.
However, against truly insane, and record-breaking odds of 1,666,666-1, an unnamed man from Staffordshire won half a million pounds from just a 30p bet on a 15-event accumulator. In 2012, he correctly predicted the winners of the top five English football leagues, the three lower Scottish divisions, the Champions League winners, the rugby union Premiership champions, and the county cricket champions. You’d be correct in predicting that I’m lying if I tell you he fell down an uncovered drain on his way home from celebrating that evening.
Following Leicester City’s 2016 Premier League triumph it emerged that one lucky, anonymous punter had placed £100 on the unlikely feat when the odds were 2,000-1. He pocketed a massive £200,000 and a place in the annals of casino trivia.
The Craziest Losses in Gambling History
Some people just don’t know when to quit. Take Vegas regular John Hennigan, for example. His friends were so convinced he couldn’t stop gambling that they bet him $100,000 he couldn’t live in gambling-free Iowa for six weeks. High-rolling Hennigan took them up on the bet, but promptly lost in only two days. He should probably consider finding new friends because it’s pretty clear they know him too well.
You might think the stakes would be lower when you gamble with someone else’s money, but don’t say that out loud in the presence of Nick Leeson. The rogue trader made the headlines in 1994 after some calamitous trades, which were fraudulent and unauthorised. It lost his company, the Barings Bank, more than £800 million. Not only that, but Leeson was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, he got cancer, and his wife left him. Gamble responsibly.
- The Biggest Recorded Casino Losses Ever
- Terry Watanabe lost $204m in just one year in Las Vegas, playing $50k blackjack hands.
- Druglord Zhenli Ye Gon blew away $85m between 2004 and 2007.
- Omar Siddiqui bet $200k blackjack hands and ended with $65m losses in 2008.
- In 1999, Billionaire Kerry Packer lost more than $42m in less than a year.
- Archie Karas turned $50 into $40m before losing it all again in 1995.
- Harry Kakavas (pictured left) lost $30 million playing baccarat in Melbourne.
In a story that proves the dangers of combining vices, Californian Mark Johnston lost $500,000 gambling while being categorically blotto in a Las Vegas casino. He took the casino to court for allowing him to gamble while he was visibly off his trolley. Casinos are supposed to stop punters from gambling when it’s clear they’ve had too many drinks, and Johnston claims he was too wasted to even see his cards.
It’s not just the players who should take greater care of themselves. Operators have been known to mess up from time-to-time, and a prime example of this left Italian Bruno Venturi truly exasperated. The 41-year-old turned £18 into £650,000 playing a lottery game on the online gambling site, Eurobet UK. However, it refused to pay Bruno his winnings because of a technical glitch with its software. He took the operator to court but lost because the terms and conditions stated no winnings would be paid as a result of computer errors. Always read the small print, or risk becoming casino trivia.
Online Gambling Statistics
Online gambling has made enormous leaps and bounds since its inception back in 1996. It’s no surprise, either. You can join a blackjack table from your own bed, you can spin slot reels on the train, and you can punt on presidential impeachment on the pistes. When you witness a walking zombie with its face practically melded to its smartphone, not looking where it’s going, there is a distinct possibility that if it isn’t checking Facebook, it’s playing a hand of blackjack or poker.
- The first online casino was launched in August 1996. Based in Antigua, InterCasino had only 18 games at the time of launch.
- The first online bingo site, Bingo Blitz, went live in 1998.
- Most online casinos are not affiliated with land-based casinos because it was initially thought the business model was not sustainable. That policy is now changing rapidly.
- Young males are the most likely to engage in online gambling; 86% of online gamblers are male.
- A fifth of online punters, and 3% of the population are estimated to be pathological gamblers.
- Worldwide online gambling revenue has grown from $20bn in 2009 to $47bn in 2017. The forecasted figure for 2020 is just under $60bn.
- Over 70% of global online gambling revenue comes from slots.
- Between October 2015 and September 2016, online gambling accounted for a third of total UK gambling revenue (£4.5bn).
- In 2016, Paddy Power and Betfair merged to create the world’s biggest online gambling company, with a revenue of around $12bn.
- 43% of UK online gamblers sometimes gamble using a mobile or tablet device.
Even though land-based casinos still hold considerable sway, the trend is towards the domination of online gambling. It’s getting easier and easier to play at the drop of a hat, and with further technological developments, such as virtual reality, beginning to make waves, the future of gambling is online.
Land-Based Casino Statistics
Despite the rapid rise of online gambling, statistics show that traditional land-based casinos have not relinquished their seat at the high table. Indeed, in 2016, 39 million people visited gambling mecca, Las Vegas. That’s more than half of the population of the UK. The total revenue was a whopping £5 billion. Meanwhile, Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands casino became the world’s fourth most expensive building at its opening in 2010. It cost over £4.5 billion and is one of eight casino resorts among the top 20 most expensive buildings. By comparison, the UK’s most expensive building is Wembley Stadium at just over £1 billion.
The richest and most expensive casino in the world is the Casino Baden-Baden in Germany. Opened in 1809, it is one of the world’s oldest, and its interior is replete with water springs and a ceiling to rival the Sistine Chapel. It’s known as the most beautiful casino in the world, and it entertains a balance of roughly £7.8 billion. Meanwhile, the glamorous Clermont Club in Mayfair, London has the second greatest balance, with a total of £7 billion.
We Like a Punt in the UK – But Not Like These Countries
Gambling is popular the world over, but evidently in some places more than others. The truth about the sway that gambling has over a population is often hidden or complicated by that country’s regulations. For instance, the Chinese have a long history of an affinity towards gambling, and the first playing cards are commonly believed to have originated out of China at around 800 AD. But gambling is illegal in China and the population is forced to resort to competing in illegal games, or taking a trip to Hong Kong or Macau. As a result, working out how much the Chinese really like to gamble is not possible. The same can be said for many jurisdictions around the world. Most forms of gambling are illegal in India, and the vast majority of the USA, but many people still find ways around it.
The culture and traditions of a country has a big influence on whether the people are of a generally superstitious nature, and in turn, whether they are likely to gamble. In Egypt, cats are considered lucky because of the Ancient Egyptian goddess, Bastet, who resembles a cat. The animal was sacred in Egypt, and we can see that in the famous IGT slot, Cleopatra, the jackpot is won by aligning three cat symbols on the centre reels. Meanwhile, the number 7 is considered a lucky number in many parts of the world,
especially in China and south-east Asia, where superstition and a passion for gambling is rife. Consequently, plenty of slot machines feature the number 7 as part of a winning combination.
Gambling laws are the most likely influence on the amount of money spent on gambling per person, but the culture has a big part to play. That combination is why Australians spend by far the most on gambling each year. Gambling is considered part of its entertainment heritage; a place where risk and reward reign supreme. In addition, existing gambling regulation is extremely relaxed by global standards. It has resulted in supremely easy access to forms of gambling. Case in point, there are more slot machines (pokies) in the state of New South Wales than there are Koala bears in the whole of the country.
Ridiculous Gambling Laws Round the World
While Australians are free to gamble as they please within very minor limitations, people in some other parts of the world could do jail time for betting on a slug race or a celebrity haircut. In some parts of the world, the gambling laws are so old and outdated, that the police turn a blind eye to it, or perhaps don’t even know the law exists. Some downright bizarre rules and regulations have been thought up, and it would a shame not to share them.
In most of the examples above, people find ways to negate the ridiculousness, but if you are planning on having a flutter on your next holiday, it’s advisable to check the damage it could do to your freedom or even your health. Should you be considering starting your own illegal UK-based library roulette club, it would be fascinating to hear about how that turns out.
The Rise and Rise of Mobile Casinos
Mobile phones are everywhere these days, and a growing percentage are using smartphones, facilitating mobile gambling. The number of bets placed worldwide via smartphones is expected to reach over £80 billion by 2018. The total number of bets placed through mobile devices is now over 20% of the total. Indeed, by 2014, 20% of all smartphone users are believed to have accessed an online gambling app using their device. In 2018, 164 million will either place a bet, purchase a lottery ticket or visit a mobile casino on their device. The goalposts have been well and truly moved. Just as the periods of the history of Earth can be divided into eons, mobile represents the latest eon in the history of gambling.
Plenty of celebrities have given into their gambling gremlins. Some of them have managed to keep it out of the public eye, while others simply couldn’t care less. For some, flaunting their wealth seems to be the order of the day.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather tends to be on the more extroverted end of the scale. He is widely regarded to have a gambling addiction, and the reason it’s so widely regarded is because he likes to tweet about every win. His bets have increased over time, and in 2014 he bet around £8.5 million on the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl. He had to spread the bet across different agencies because nobody would permit a bet that size in one fell swoop. Sadly for Floyd, the Broncos were trounced by the Seattle Seahawks.
The late rock and roll legend, Lemmy Killmister, of Motorhead fame was comparatively subtler with his gambling habits. Not so much a fan of Twitter, Lemmy stuck to fruit machines in his local bar or any bar he happened to be at when touring. People say his nickname emerged after he would ask people to ‘Lemme a fiver’ to fund his habit. It’s also rumoured that his slot machine of choice was brought to him on his deathbed. Not that he needed it, but he has been further immortalised with his own slot game.
Determined to be part of the wonderful world of UK casino stats, Everton star Wayne Rooney lost half a million in only two hours in a casino splurge in 2017. He chased his not inconsiderable losses on roulette and blackjack late at night in Manchester’s 235 Casino. Rooney is far from being the first football star to be found gambling away real money. Former Burnley player Joey Barton received an 18-month ban from playing after betting on matches.
Another celebrity caught up in a gambling scandal of sorts is Ben Affleck. He was barred from the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas after he was caught counting cards while playing at a high-roller blackjack table.
It would take a giant meteor or an all-out nuclear war to vanquish gambling from the face of the Earth. People love to have a punt, and we’ve seen the gambling industry adapt comfortably as technology has developed. It’s not going away anytime soon. For all new major developments and gambling facts the UK has to offer, you’ll be able to find them on this page, so feel free to bookmark us. If you want to feature on an online casino trivia page one day, we have reviewed the best places to play so that you don’t end up in the ‘Biggest Online Gambling Disasters’ section.