One of the world's biggest gamblers is also one of the richest men in Australia - Kerry Packer. He owns most of the magazines sold in Australia as well as a television network and Sydney's Daily Telegraph.
Packer was born in 1938 and sent to boarding school at the age of 5. A year later he contracted a form of polio which saw him confined to an iron lung for nine months. Although this left him behind in school, he excelled in sports rather than academics.
After he finished school at the age of 19, Packer when to work for his father's
newspapers. He took over the business when his father died in 1974.
Packer's dealings were not always on the up and up. Kerry Packer was named as one of Heidi Fleiss' customers. A prostitute testified in the Fleiss case that she and others flew to Las Vegas in 1992 to meet Packer. They spent a week with him and she said that Packer paid her $10 000.
One of Packers biggest financial triumphs happened over cricket. When the Australian Cricket Board refused his offer for the television rights, Packer hired up the best cricket players in the world and created his own league to televise.
Packers financial ventures are many. Everything from television networks to magazines and casino gaming. He owns the Crown casino, a complex including restaurants, theatres, bars, gaming and night clubs. His empire also has interests in finance, technology and online media.
Kerry Packer has been listed as the 111th richest person in the world with an amassed wealth of $4.2 billion. However, Packer has been plagued by health problems. Packer has a history of heart problems and had to have a kidney transplant.
He status as a legendary gambler came when he won 26 million dollars at the Las Vegas MGM Grand, playing blackjack for $200 000 per hand, six hands at a time. This sort of action got him banned from Vegas casinos who just couldn't afford to take this kind of action. Packer is reported to have suffered one of the biggest losses in the UK at $16.5 million at Crockfords casino in London. This is small change considering his estimated worth of $8 billion. Packer is known for his big wins and big losses, but he is also known for his generosity reportedly tipping casino staff $100 000 and making non repayable loans to other gamblers.
It was all possible thanks to Kerry Packer's grandfather who, rumor has it, bought his passage to the mainland on the winnings of a bet on a horse, the stake for which he found lying in the street.
Packer still leads his empire today at the age of 71 and has no intention of retiring.