Music producer and reality TV star David Gest recently passed away at the age of 62. And one of the most-surprising revelations after his death is that he had a big affinity for slots.
Specifically, Gest would regularly play 50-pence slots in UK casinos, sometimes losing as much as £10,000 in one sitting.
“He would spend 24 hours a day chasing the jackpot. David wouldn’t think twice about spending £10,000 in one sitting,” a friend told reporters.
“His losses didn’t seem to affect him but in a 12-month period it was a substantial amount, it was six figures.”
According to The Mirror, Gest is believed to have lost £100,000 playing slots at a single UK casino chain.
This all seemed fine, given that the reality star had a reported net worth of $50 million before the time of his death. However, it’s clear that he didn’t have as much money as he portrayed. In fact, he had £474,000 in debts against £57,629 in the bank.
“David loved giving off the image of being successful,” said another friend. “He worked hard to keep up that image and sometimes the money wasn’t coming in.”
Gest lived in London’s East Side Hotel, which cost £1,800 per night. This, coupled with his slots losses, certainly didn’t help his bank account.
“I once saw David Gest in a casino playing two slot machines at once. Respect that level of degeneracy,” tweeted a person who spotted Gest at a UK casino.
Of course, playing two slots at once is not that rare. But when one has the type of bankroll management problems that Gest did, it certainly can become a problem.
Gest rose to the top of the music world thanks to his close friendship/business relationship with Michael Jackson, and a high-profile marriage to Liza Minnelli in 2001. His marriage to Minnelli dissolved in 2007, and Jackson died just two years later in 2009.
Living in the UK, Gest appeared on a string of reality shows, including ITV’s Soapstar Superstar, Celebrity Fantasy Homes and Celebrity Big Brother. His health problems became increasingly clear when he exited the Big Brother household due to extremely high blood pressure.