15 Ultra Bizarre Facts About Gambling – Part One

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In popular culture, we’re accustomed to seeing casinos and gambling used as a backdrop for action-packed, lavish or even downright bizarre events. Think Martin Scorcese’s epitomous “Casino,” a whirlwind of gangsters, behind-the-scenes opulence and De Niro’s growls. Even more recently we had “The Hangover,” which aimed to solve the outlandish, twisted mystery of what debaucherous incidents happened the night before. The truth, however, can sometimes prove to be unexpectedly stranger than fiction. Get ready to cash in on some of the weirdest happenings in and around casino culture.

1. Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx and whose current net worth is $2 billion, saved his company in the 1970s by heading to Vegas and gambling FedEx’s very last $5,000

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The $25- $35 billion estimated worth of FedEx would not exist if Fred Smith, at that time the young CEO of Federal Express, hadn’t put his last company pennies on the blackjack table. The idea behind FedEx started with one of Mr Smith’s university papers in which he imagined a company with its own depots and various methods of transport which would be able to perform overnight deliveries. It was deemed unsatisfactory by his professor – earning a “C” grade – being criticised as unplausible. That, as we all know, did not stop the entrepreneurial Fred Smith from pursuing his idea.

Problems arose, unfortunately, with the initial implementation of his business. During the 1970s, fuel costs increased dramatically and FedEx felt the pinch profoundly, losing over $1 million a month and close to bankruptcy. As a result, investors started pulling out of the fledgling business and loans were no longer an option.

It came down to a horrific point where Smith did not have the money to refuel the planes which delivered parcels for FedEx, a task he simply had to do by the following Monday or suffer the wrath of having to close shop.

The plucky FedEx CEO decided to take chance into his very own hands and gamble the company’s very last $5,000 on the blackjack table and, as a result, ended up walking away with $32,000 by Monday. This was enough to fuel the planes and help Fred Smith fully recover his business. Today, FedEx ships anything up to 17 million parcels a day.

2.  An Australian gambling syndicate in 1992 purchased almost all possible number combinations in the Virginia Lottery and won the jackpot, converting the $5 million spent on the tickets into $27 million

425 Million Jackpot Draws Hopeful Lottery Ticket Buyers

Image courtesy of Scott Olson/Getty Images

Imagine you were able to buy out all possible number combinations from 1 – 44 in a lottery and it was actually a profitable decision. Enter an investment group, who eyed the massively inflated jackpot prize of a lottery based in the United States of America.

They worked out that in Virginia, unique for their 1 – 44-number lottery ticket (as opposed to Florida’s, which goes up to 49, or New York’s 54-number lottery), the amount of 6-number combinations would reach 7,059,052 and at $1 a ticket, this came as a profitable revelation especially considering that the jackpot was nearing record level.

In essence, hired hands of the Group had only 3 days to frequent the 125 various retail outlets which sold the lottery tickets and print out the reams of number combinations, painfully selected and marked by hand. They worked right down to the very last second and unfortunately, due to the cut-off time, were unable to print roughly 2 million combinations. Despite only capturing 5 million out of the possible 7 million number combinations, the company still emerged victorious: an even greater feat considering they didn’t have to share the winnings with any other potentially lucky players.

3. Think Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the world? Think again. Macau’s annual gambling revenue reaches 5 times the amount that Nevada’s casino oasis brings in

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Image courtesy of Kieran Scott /Getty

Macau, hailed as the “New Vegas,” is the only Chinese territory that allows gambling in casinos and surpassed Las Vegas’ gambling revenues in 2006, which, until then, had been the largest gambling city in the world.

Only a decade ago, the simple Hong Kong town had factories which pumped out fireworks, toys and synthetic flowers. Now the factories have given way to the casinos, which are endlessly under construction, and the rewards have benefitted their average citizens, who bring home more in monthly income than a typical European.

Macau easily brings in the same annual gambling revenue as Las Vegas 5 times over, and in 2010, $600 billion was placed in bets: the same value as all the cash withdrawn from every ATM in the United States of America over the course of a year.

4. 10 years ago, a Japanese man opened up his own casino school betting on the fact that Japan would legalise casinos – his wait continues

File photo of a logo of Japan casino school seen as a dealer puts cards on a mock black jack casino table during a photo opportunity at an international tourism promotion symposium in Tokyo

Image courtesy of REUTERS/Yuya Shino/Yahoo News Files

Placing a bet on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision over whether to legalise casinos in time for the 2020 Olympics, Masayoshi Oiwane opened up his very own school to teach willing students the art of gambling and dealing.

Unfortunately, due to scandal rocking the reputation of the current Prime Minister, he is unable to pass the bill given his lack of political leverage, eliminating any readiness to start construction on casino resorts planned to bring in mass amounts of Olympic tourist revenue. According to CLSA Ltd, the casino market in Japan could be worth $40 billion, however it is predicted that the bill won’t come up for discussion even in 2015.

Oiwane offers 6 month to one year-long courses, delving into subjects that range from card shuffling to casino culture. The upside for his students is that they can take these skills overseas and become permanent, qualified casino employees.

 

5. The amount of power it takes to keep Times Square’s concentration of electronic billboards and advertisements lit is equivalent to twice the amount of energy it takes to keep all the casinos in Las Vegas going

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New York’s Time Square is the iconic tourist attraction of the city. With its flashy lights and interesting, gigantic displays, people are attracted like moths to the flame to bask in the 5-block wide electronic wonder.

Con Edison, the power company that handles the grid which Times Square is on, estimates that the usage is about 161 megawatts of power at once. This is equal to the energy required to power 161,000 homes in the United States; 3 times the energy consumed at one time in Sierra Leone; the power needed to light 1.6 million 100 watt lightbulbs and, of course, powering all the casinos in Las Vegas twice over.

15 Ultra Bizarre Facts about Gambling – Part Two Banking Methods available @ 7Sultans