For months, millionaire Terrance Watanabe, former head of the party-favor import business Oriental Trading Company, was among the most valuable regulars at Harrah's casino—according to employees, there was even a picture of him hung up in the back rooms—and his yearlong binge earned Harrah's more than $100 million (some 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue that year). Most of his $127 million tab has been repaid by the philanthropist, but Watanabe is refusing to pay the rest, saying that Harrah's provided him with liquor and painkillers to keep him gambling, and therefore bears some responsibility for his losses. It's illegal for casinos to allow intoxicated customers to gamble, and Watanabe was kicked out of Wynn despite a reputation as a high roller thanks to his heavy drinking; at Harrah's, however, he was welcomed with open arms, and some current and former employees are saying that they were encouraged to keep Watanabe drinking. The former importer opened up to his sister two years ago and entered a treatment facility in 2008. "It was embarrassing for him," his sister says.
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