Elon Musk
Elon Musk's Dad Reveals Son's Gambling History and Questions Billionaire Status Wikimedia Commons

Elon Musk's father alleges he taught the tech mogul a sneaky gambling technique that enabled him to secure a significant win in Las Vegas.

Errol Musk, a 77-year-old retired electromechanical engineer, told The Sun (US edition) that he used to take his sons, Elon and his younger brother Kimbal, gambling when they were teenagers in their native South Africa.

Elon (now 52) and entrepreneur and chef Kimbal (51) spared no effort, even resorting to disguises, to circumvent the casino's minimum age requirement. The skill they honed at the gambling tables came in handy during Elon's bachelor party in Sin City over a decade later.

Errol recounted that he began taking his sons to a popular casino in Pretoria, South Africa, known as Marula Sun, during the 1980s. "Elon and Kimbal were very young in 1987 - 16 and 14," he said.

Errol continued to say they continued to visit these establishments, and his sons would dress to appear 18. He further opined that 18 is a meagre minimum age limit for gambling. In his opinion, it should be raised to 25.

Kimbal was relatively thin but tall, so they bulked him out with a scarf wrapped around his neck and his dad's leather bomber jacket. When the doorman inquired if he was 18, Errol recounted, he confidently declared, "I'm 23." This took them by surprise, and they simply waved him in.

As soon as they were inside, all attempts at disguise were abandoned. Kimbal, sporting a white long-sleeved school shirt with the collar undone, began placing increasingly large bets with a flamboyant air. Errol explained that they would begin with a very straightforward betting system before switching things up when they started racking up wins.

"By simply assuming that red would follow black or vice versa, we wagered quite large amounts for beginners. After particularly good winnings on one occasion, we hit the great exclusive restaurant and dined on langoustines and filet mignon," he said.

Elon Musk's betting strategy

According to Errol, the Tesla CEO would meticulously work out that they could potentially bring in 90,000 South African Rand a month through their casino visits (roughly equivalent to £3765.56 in today's terms).

He said, "Why 90,000 Rand, I don't know. Why not 100,000 Rand?" This successful streak continued for a few weeks. Errol and his sons got to the point where we weren't even bothering to cash in their chips, instead taking them home and accumulating them.

Then, during one visit, they incredibly experienced 14 reds in a row at the roulette wheel. It felt almost too good to be true as if the roulette wheel might have been tampered with. Those suspicions linger to this day. Unfortunately, their luck didn't last, and they lost around 9,000 Rand (£376.38) on a single spin.

"We tried to recover later, and the same thing happened, about nine in a row. We lost another 5,000 Rand." Errol said that as their losses mounted, they decided to stop visiting the casinos.

"But Elon did use our knowledge to win more than $42,000 (£33288.36) in about 2001 in Las Vegas for Kimbal's bachelor party."

The Winning Formula

When questioned about his roulette strategy, Errol responded, "This is something I've developed over many years. It's not something I'd be comfortable sharing casually." Musk, who recently shed some light on his ketamine prescription, has carried over a certain respect for those skilled in games of chance into his later business ventures.

In 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported that Musk had entrusted a 34-year-old former professional poker player, Ivan Kurganov, with managing billions of dollars in charitable donations on his behalf. This decision, however, appeared to contradict comments made by Elon's father, Errol Musk, in an interview on The Kyle and Jackie O Show that same year. Errol revealed that he wasn't particularly proud of his billionaire son.