Packer hit for pounds 11m at casino

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The Independent Online
KERRY PACKER, the man whose popularisation of one-day cricket once appeared to threaten the future of the Ashes competition between England and Australia, has had his own fingers burnt. The billionaire entrepreneur has reputedly lost nearly pounds 11m at cards.

Mr Packer, a well-known gambler, is understood to have chalked up the sum, reported to be the biggest gambling loss ever in Britain, over a three-week period at a Mayfair club. But any sympathy for Mr Packer will be tempered by the knowledge that the money cannot matter much to him: he is reported to be worth pounds 1.5bn.

The scene for the grand humbling of one of Australia's more colourful characters was Crockford's club, in central London. Mr Packer is thought to have thrown in his hand after a losing streak at blackjack. The minimum stake at the club is said to be pounds 250,000.

Mr Packer's financial hiccup has come at a good time for the club's new owner, Stanley Leisure, a Liverpool-based firm that had completed its purchase of the club a few days earlier.

The pounds 11m loss is enough to buy a Hawk jet, a tidy country estate in the Home Counties or a cut-price centre forward for Manchester United.

It is understood that Mr Packer, whose fortune is supposedly founded on the winnings from a racing bet, has since flown on to Las Vegas to try to recoup his losses.

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