Another One Looking to Be Broke

I mentioned the other day why my film was titled “Broke: The New American Dream.” Short answer: many people actually want to be broke. Another great example of a guy who wanted to be broke? Meet Terrance Watanabe.

7 thoughts on “Another One Looking to Be Broke

  1. I’m not even close to sorry for him, but unless there’s a real crime story behind it, putting someone in jail for debt is turning US into Dubai. I just HOPE this is not the case.

  2. Stories like these stink of “Poor me” and “It is his/her fault.” Does anyone think the parties involved will learn anything?

  3. Putting someone into prison for giving their house back while not being able to pay the bills (Dubai?)…is different than simply taking millions of dollars to gamble with no property or asset to back the debt. I don’t know the full details on this case, but I wasn’t so sure the comparison was accurate.

  4. What’s the difference between Bernie Madoff and this guy? Madoff stole billions, and if this guy doesn’t pay the casino what he owes, he stole over $100 million. From a criminal standpoint, what’s the difference?

    He claims they regularly gave him drugs and alcohol. No one shoved that stuff down his pie hole.

    I believe Michael is right, he wanted to go broke. If not, he would have done everything possible to not go broke.

  5. It’s obvious this guy is trying to fulfill some other need than making money.

    Yes, they can put you in jail. In exchange for casino chips, the casino requires a gambler to write a personal check for the amount he wishes to borrow (it’s called a “marker” in casino terminology). If the marker is not repaid within 30 days with chips or cash, or if the gambler is seen leaving the casino with the chips, the marker is deposited in the bank. Most gamblers don’t have money in their checking account to cover the marker so technically it’s like writing a bad check.

    Since casino credit is unsecured debt, and in most states the debtor’s assets can’t be confiscated , the casino uses prosecution for writing a bad check to get the gambler to pay(however, as casinos are popping up around the country laws are being changed to be more like Dubai). This is common practice for wealthy gamblers who like to negotiate their casino debt for cents on the dollar.

    What’s interesting is that there is virtually no risk for the casino. The casino is giving the gambler chips which will never physically leave the casino. Casinos don’t lend money, the casinos lend CHIPS, but the loan must be satisfied with money.

    The federal reserve operates under the same principal.

  6. Michael, you may be right about many things, but being a libertarian, I don’t see how you think it is normal to put someone in jail for not paying gamble debts. Allowing such exceptions is the first step towards becoming a banana republic. So I repeat, unless there was fraud, false information or whatever, if both the lenders and the guy signed a contract and knew what they were doing, it’s their problem. Doesn’t matter wether the guy was gambling insanely or following a proven method, it’s totally out of the subject here.

  7. Andre hit the nail on the head. Jail for fraud, not for debt.

    Putting people in jail for any debt is scary. Bankruptcy laws were created to give people a fresh start, and prevent America from becoming a slave state. Bankers, investors, and even casinos need to understand risks involved in lending money. Instead of understanding risk, groups try to lobby the local, state, and federal government to legislate away all their risk.

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