Las Vegas Sun

March 23, 2019

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Debt case dropped against Vegas casino high-roller


Tiffany Brown

Terrance K. Watanabe, left, of Omaha, Neb., leaves the Regional Justice Center following his arraignment in Las Vegas on May 20, 2009, accompanied by sister Pam Watanabe-Gerdes.

Criminal charges are dropped and civil lawsuits are stopped in Nevada involving a high-rolling Nebraska gambler accused of failing to pay $14.75 million in debts to Las Vegas casinos.

A Clark County District Court judge on Thursday accepted a confidential deal between a prosecutor and lawyers for 53-year-old Terrance "Terry" Watanabe.

Judge Donald Mosley dismissed theft and bad check charges that a Watanabe lawyer said could have gotten him up to 28 years in prison. Trial had been set next week.

Attorney Pierce O'Donnell says Watanabe didn't intend to defraud Caesars Palace and the Rio hotel-casino or their corporate owner, Harrah's Entertainment.

Watanabe agreed to drop civil lawsuits against Harrah's, and Harrah's agreed to freeze counterclaims pending binding arbitration.

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