Famous Gamblers

Considering the fact that the world’s most luxurious casinos are the playpens of the world’s rich and famous, it is hardly surprising that some of the world’s most famous people have been dedicated gamblers. From ancient to modern times, some of history’s most eminent figures have put their fortunes at the mercy of fate.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

One of the greatest novelists in Russian history was a fanatical gambler. Dostoevsky’s interest in gambling evolved into an obsession with games of chance after the untimely deaths of his wife and brother. The author attempted to escape his misery by frequenting casinos, where he subsequently lost a fortune.

Strangely, it was while Dostoevsky was crippled by gambling debts that he wrote two of his most acclaimed novels, Crime and Punishment and The Gambler. According to legend, Dostoevsky was forced to write the last section of Crime and Punishment in a matter of days, in order to secure an advance from his publisher with which to settle his gambling debts.

John Montagu

If it were not for the gambling habits of John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, the most famous lunch meal in the world may never have been invented. Legend has it that John Montagu was partial to card games, and would sometimes abstain from eating in order to extend his gaming sessions.

It is said that Montagu was eventually forced to come up with a convenient snack to sustain him at the card table, and requested servants to bring him slices of meat served between two slices of bread. This invention proved to be a hit amongst Montagu’s gambling buddies, who named his invention the ‘Sandwich’.

The Royal Family

The history of thoroughbred horseracing and royal gambling is virtually inseparable. Since the days of Queen Anne, European royalty have taken responsibility for hosting and organising Europe’s richest and most prestigious horse races.

This trend continues to this day, with various members of the British Royal Family actively involved in horseracing in the United Kingdom. In fact the biggest flat race meeting in the world, Royal Ascot, is virtually a celebration of the links between royalty and horseracing.

Various members of the Royal Family attend the Royal Ascot Meeting every year, and each day of racing begins with a royal procession. The keen racing enthusiasts and thoroughbred racehorse owners and own the land upon which the Ascot racing facilities stand.

Kerry Packer

Australian publishing mogul Kerry Packer is recognised as one of the most flamboyant gamblers in history. When not attempting to hijack international cricket, Packer was more than partial to a flutter at Las Vegas, and quite happy to put sizable chunks of his $6.5 billion fortune at risk.

Packer is most famous for winning $33 million playing blackjack at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He is also responsible for setting the record for the biggest loss at a British casino, parting with $28 million over the course of 3 weeks. Packer’s visits to casinos were not always welcome, as he proved himself capable of severely denting casino profits on several occasions.

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