Richard Branson’s trip to Vegas to teach his kids a lesson about gambling backfired spectacularly

  • Billionaire’s attempt to teach his children not to gamble on Vegas trip went wrong
  • Branson recounts the story in his new autobiography

As any parent knows, getting your teenage children to take advice can be tough, and it seems it isn’t any easier for billionaires.

Lady luck was not smiling on Richard Branson's family Vegas trip - but his kids did rather well.
Lady luck was not smiling on Richard Branson’s family Vegas trip – but his kids did rather well.

In his new autobiography Finding My Virginity, Richard Branson relates a story about the time he attempted to teach his children Holly and Sam an important lesson about the dangers of gambling on a trip to Las Vegas.

Branson explains that the family had often played cards, though never with money at stake and he was worried that his children might get into gambling as they grew older.

“Rather than getting themselves into a dangerous situation, I decided to introduce them to the pitfalls of betting personally,” he writes.

“I thought learning a few hard-hitting lessons in an atmosphere of hedonism and wild abandon could actually be effective.”

The setting for the lesson was to be famous Vegas strip, where Branson took his children into a casino.

They were fascinated by the roulette wheel, so he gave them $40 each in casino chips and placed a few bets for them.

In the space of a few minutes they had lost their money, so the Virgin boss took the opportunity to pass on some fatherly wisdom. He recalls telling them how easy it was to lose everything when you gamble. “There’s a saying in Vegas, ‘The house always wins.’

“And that’s true; the only people who make any money out of casinos are the owners. And they make plenty of it.”

Huge pile of winnings

Unknown to Branson, however, his children had left a few chips on the table. As they passed by the roulette table on their way back to the hotel, they were greeted with applause, and Branson recalls what he saw when he looked at the table.

“There in front of us was a huge pile of winnings. The few chips they’d accidentally left behind had “tripled and tripled and tripled into a small fortune.”

In the book, Branson recalls searching for more wisdom to pass on to explain the situation, but it didn’t seem to have any effect:

“I might as well have been talking to a brick wall. They were too busy grinning to pay attention.”

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