Ron Meyer: The Craps Whale Who Blew $100 Million in Casinos

Ron Meyer With a Craps Table and Dice Background

Gambling is definitely an exciting form of entertaining. It can even deliver big profits when you’re on a hot streak. But as fun as gambling is, though, it’s ultimately a negative-expectation endeavor for amateurs.

Entertainment executive Ron Meyer found this out the hard way. Once a wealthy elite, Meyer is dealing with the fallout from losing $100 million through craps.

How in the world did Meyer lose such a big fortune through craps!? I’ll discuss more on Meyer below along with how he gambled so much money away.

Who Is Ron Meyer?

Ronald Meyer was born in America in 1944. His parents were Jewish immigrants who fled from Nazi Germany to the United States in the 1930s.

Ron spent plenty of time watching Hollywood films with his family growing up. These movie nights shaped what would later become his future career.

Meyer dropped out of high school at age 15. By age 17, he joined the US Marine Corp and served for two years.

Ron got his start in showbusiness by working for the LA-based Paul Kohner Agency in 1964. He worked for Paul Kohner until 1970 and spent five years at the William Morris Agency afterward.

Creative Artists Agency Interior

One day in 1975, Ron and his friends decided to start their own talent agency. They founded the Creative Artists Agency in 1975 and began recruiting future Hollywood talent.

The agency’s beginnings were humble. Their office featured card tables and folding chairs as furniture. The men in charge also relied on their wives to fill in as secretaries.

Nevertheless, the Creative Artists Agency become a success. It helped Meyer move on to bigger and better things in the future.

In 1995, he became the President and COO of Universal Studios. He served in this role until 2013, when he was promoted to Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal (Universal Studios’ parent company).

Meyer had an affair with actress Charlotte Kirk in 2013. This affair recently came to light, which caused him to lose his lofty position with NBCUniversal.

How Ron Meyer Frittered Away $100 Million Tossing the Dice

Ron Meyer was known first and foremost for his prominent role with NBCUniversal. Here, he dealt with some of the biggest names in television and movies.

Beneath all of his professional success, though, was a major gambling problem. Meyer frequently visited Las Vegas and Atlantic City and risked large amounts at the craps tables.

According to the Daily Mail, he sometimes lost as much as $7 million in a single gambling excursion. Eventually, his losses ballooned to $100 million before Meyer’s habits became public knowledge.

The 75-year-old was making $25 million per year in his Vice Chairman role. Now, however, he’s currently seeking a golden parachute deal with NBCUniversal to save his future.

“One of the Biggest Craps Players Ever”

Information has come pouring in on Meyer’s gambling habits lately. One source told the Daily Mail that Ron would lose between “$5 million and $7 million at Caesars Palace” in single trips.

Caesars Atlantic City knew that Meyer would bet big. So, they sent a helicopter to pick him up from New York’s NBCUniversal and fly him to AC. One source explained:

He would stay at the penthouse suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York while on business. The vice president of marketing at Caesars Atlantic City would send a helicopter to take him to his casino. […] He’s one of the biggest craps players ever.

Why Is This Story Just Coming Out Now?

The media has been running with the recent story involving Meyer’s 2013 affair with Charlotte Kirk. He reached a $2 million settlement with her last year to keep the story hush-hush.

Meyer had been successful extorted by Kirk and her fiancé. However, the story came to light anyways when he stopped making payments to the couple.

Exterior Statues at Caesars Palace Atlantic City

When tabloids get ahold of a juicy story like this, they dig up more dirt on the individuals involved. It was only a matter of time before outlets like Daily Mail found out about Meyer’s gambling problem. A source recalled:

Once he exhausted his credit line [at Caesars Atlantic City], the VP would take him to Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut where he would blow $3 to 5million as well at each place.

Unfortunately, Meyer had such a big gambling problem that he’d go to the casino executives and ask for multimillion-dollar loans.

He’d use this money to rack up even more losses at the craps tables. As an unnamed VIP host noted, the casinos shouldn’t have been granting him these extra gambling funds. The host explained:

It’s really not a nice thing to do, because the gambler is in heat and wants that money. But if you really care about your player, you send him home. But it shows you how reckless the gambler is and how the people in the industry don’t give a s***. Because they’re getting paid commissions on what you lose. So they want to take as much money as possible from you.

Casino High Roller Treatment

Casinos know how to get people coming back to the casino. They treat high rollers like kings and offer them plenty of casino comps.

Ron Meyer was no different in this regard. Casino executives personally got involved with recruiting Meyer because they knew a potential multimillion-dollar payday was awaiting. One of Meyer’s VIP hosts explained:

He was probably in the top three most sought-after whales in the gaming industry. Everybody tried to get him to come play at their casinos.

Some of the comps that Meyer received included 20% loss rebates and six figures worth of promotional chips. In addition to the free helicopter ride, he’d also get a penthouse suite, stretch limousine, and comped meals at the finest resort restaurants.

Double Life

Meyer was very guarded with his gambling addiction—even with his own family. His second wife, Kelly Chapman, didn’t even know he was such a big gambler until the two split from each other in 2018.

She told accountants to do a forensic sweep of Meyer’s finances when they were getting divorced. She thought that he was hiding money when he’d really blown it all in casinos.

When Ron exhausted his credit at casinos, he began privately seeking help to repay gambling loans. He asked Michael Ovitz, co-founder of Creative Artists Agency, for help with paying off a $6.5 million and $5 million casino loan.

He was even borrowing money from loan sharks in the 1990s. Meyer owed the loan sharks several million dollars and only saved himself after securing another loan from producer Ray Stark (The Goodbye Girl).

Financial Difficulties

Following decades of losing millions of dollars in casinos, Ron Meyer is in serious financial trouble. He’s especially hurting after losing his $25-million-a-year job.

Meyer no longer has the money to bet millions of dollars per night at the craps tables. In fact, he’s relying on the aforementioned golden parachute with NBCUniversal to stay afloat.

Whether he’ll get much of a deal remains to be seen. Meyer will definitely be hoping for some money given that he no longer has a cushy entertainment job.

How to Avoid Losing Big Like Ron Meyer

You almost assuredly don’t have $100 million to blow on gambling like Meyer did. Nevertheless, you should have a plan if you play craps or any other game.

Map Out a Bankroll Plan

The best place to start with your gambling funds is casino bankroll management. You want to figure out how much you can risk without affecting your normal finances.

This task involves going through your finances and determining what free money you have available. If you can comfortably afford to lose $500, for instance, then this should be your bankroll amount.

Overhead View of a Craps Game

Next, you should figure out a safe average bet size. Doing so helps you decide what bet sizes you can use while still making your bankroll last.

Here’s an example:

  • You have a $500 bankroll.
  • You’re playing craps.
  • You plan to place two $5 wagers every round ($10 total).
  • The average house edge on the bets is 1.46% (Place 6 + pass line).
  • 10 x 0.0146 = 0.146 ($0.146 lost per round)
  • 500 / 0.146 = 3,425
  • Your bankroll should theoretically last for 3,425 rounds.

If the table sees approximately 30 rounds per hour, then your bankroll will last for over 114 hours. Therefore, you should definitely get plenty of entertainment out of a $500 bankroll and $10 bets.

Stick With the Best Bets

No details are available on what type of wagers Meyer enjoys making. However, I highly doubt that he was placing the top wagers that craps has available.

Casinos offer plenty of sucker bets in games like craps, roulette, and baccarat. These prop bets promise exotic rules and large payouts.

But if you continually make these risky wagers, you’ll be surrendering more money to the house. Here are some of the worst craps bets for reference:

Bet House Edge
2 or 12 (Hi-Lo) 11.11%
2, 3, or 12 (Craps) 11.11%
Hard 4 or Hard 10 11.11%
Horn 12.5%
Whirl 13.33%
2 13.89%
12 13.89%
Any 7 16.67%

Control Your Emotions

Some gamblers get too swept up in emotions and risk more than they should. Ron Meyer probably got wrapped up in the emotional side of things when he suffered multimillion-dollar losses.

Players like Meyer fixate on losses and think that they can win everything back. However, chasing losses is never a good idea.

Craps—like other casino games—features negative-expectation bets. Even with pass line (1.41% house edge), you’re still facing a long-term losing proposition.

The best way to treat gambling is as entertainment. Assuming you get lucky and win, then great! Don’t be surprised when you fail to win, though, and try earning the losses back.

Conclusion

Ron Meyer has gone through a whirlwind of emotions over the past few years. He got divorced in 2018, recently had an affair exposed, and is now dealing with fallout from a $100 million gambling loss.

Most people never have to deal with anywhere near this amount of stress in their lifetimes—let alone all within the span of a few years.

At 75 and with his recent drama, Meyer has seen the best days of his career come and go. Therefore, he probably won’t be reloading his craps bankroll any time soon.

The most important thing for him now involves getting some settlement money from NBCUniversal and avoiding the craps tables.