Australians are some of the biggest gamblers in the world, with large amounts of money changing hands through sports betting, horse racing and both Australian gambling casinos (like these ten best casinos we recently wrote about here) and online casinos, to the tune of a per-capita average of $11,000 per adult. While many of the world’s largest gambling companies call Australia home, we also have some infamous players –though most Aussies would probably not know precisely who are Australia’s most notorious gamblers.
The people who made this list of Australia’s most infamous gamblers are a mix of gambling syndicate magnates, professional gamblers and world-class gaming machines that have taken the casino world by storm.
The Four Most Infamous Australian Gambling Identities
Lloyd Williams is best known as the founder of the hugely popular Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex in Melbourne.
Although before the turn of the century Lloyd sold the majority of his interest in the Crown to the Packer Family, he remains at the forefront of the Aussie gambling industry thanks to being one of the largest thoroughbred racehorse owners in Australia.
He (and his wife Suzie Williams) have won the ‘race that stops the nation’, the Melbourne Cup, on four occasions (in 1981, 1985, 2007, and most recently in 2012). He’s also joined the record books as being one of four owners to have won the cup four times.
David Walsh is a household name in many corners of the globe, but not necessarily for his role as owner of the Museum of Old and New Art and Moorilla Estate in Tasmania.
This notorious gambling personality is infamous for many things, including gambling on the life of 65-year-old French artist Christian Boltanski –but this is not his most well-known venture.
Nope, because on top of all the crazy things that are associated with David, he is always considered the leader of the world’s largest gambling syndicate, along with his best friend (and acclaimed world’s biggest gambler) Zeljko Ranogajec.
This group consists of 17 people and is known as the ‘Bank Roll’ and while they are estimated to be worth $2.4 billion, they are currently fighting against the Australian Taxation Office as they believe their earnings should be considered a hobby and not an income.
While Kerry Packer has been in the limelight over the years for many things, it should be noted that he made it to this list mainly by inheriting his family’s fortune and investments upon the death of his father in the 1970s.
And despite being better known for his gambling lousy luck in gambling, he is mostly an expert in horse racing and cricket.
He has been flashed across Aussie papers for his winnings, in particular a week at the MGM Grand Casino where Packer won a total of $33 million. He is also believed to have won twenty hands of baccarat, worth $115,000 each, in a measly 20 minutes.
While he was a massive risk-taker when gambling, it was also his risk-taking in business ventures that caught the eye of the public.
Kerry Packer passed away in December 2005 at 68 years old, leaving his fortune worth $6.5 billion to his son, James Packer – who is not without his own infamous scandals and notoriety!
Blackjack players consider Zeljko Ranogajec as one of the most innovative advantage players the world has ever seen.
And it shows in his net worth, regardless of how tight and secretive he is about his casino winnings, Zeljko is accepted as the world’s biggest racing bettor in the world, with winnings estimated to be about $1 billion per year!
His roots take him back to Tasmania, where he kicked things off working at the popular Wrest Point Casino with card counting in blackjack. However, one of his most infamous stories is through his connection with best friend (and fellow notorious list maker) David Walsh, through their gambling syndicate.
Zeljko has a punt on horse racing throughout New Zealand, England, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States. Still, his blackjack play has seen him being banned from popular casinos throughout the United States and Australia.
While he comes from humble beginnings, his life choices have certainly paid off, with the result being his immense net worth and secretive duties.
This list could be even longer, with Australia producing some viral and unorthodox gambling personalities over the years. One thing that we can be sure of is that thanks to Aussies and their love for gambling, we will always get out-of-this-world news stories from them.
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I used to work in a land-based casino several years ago. I know a lot of stuff about gambling and I met plenty of successful gamblers in my life.