In his new autobiography, "Finding My Virginity," Richard Branson describes a trip he took to Las Vegas with his teenagers, Holly and Sam. The self-made billionaire saw the family trip as a prime opportunity to give his children some money advice.
He originally wanted to teach his kids about the "perils of gambling," he writes.
According to Branson, the family had always played cards together, but never for money. He felt that his kids would be tempted to try gambling as they got older.
"Rather than getting themselves into a dangerous situation, I decided to introduce them to the pitfalls of betting personally," writes Branson. "I thought learning a few hard-hitting lessons in an atmosphere of hedonism and wild abandon could actually be effective."
But the trip didn't go as planned. The family arrived at the Vegas strip and entered a casino, where the "spinning whir of the roulette wheel" caught the Branson teens' eyes. Their father gave them each $40 in casino chips and placed bets for them. In just a few minutes, they had lost all of their money.
Feeling proud of himself and ready to step in with some paternal wisdom, Branson put his arms around his kids and guided them away.
"That's the thing about gambling," he recalls explaining. "Everyone thinks that they can win...But, in fact, it takes no time at all for all that hard-earned money to disappear into thin air."
Branson continued, "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."
Sure that the message had hit home, the businessman enjoyed some downtime with his kids while giving himself a mental pat on the back.
But the teens had unknowingly left a few spare chips on the table. As they got ready to head back to their hotel, says Branson, the trio passed by the table where they had been playing roulette and were met with applause. Confused, Branson took a step closer to the table and was gobsmacked.
"There in front of us was a huge pile of winnings," he writes. The few chips they'd accidentally left behind had "tripled and tripled and tripled into a small fortune."
His kids couldn't contain their excitement and relished the fact that their father was wrong.
Branson scrambled for some more fatherly wisdom to impart, telling his kids, "It's important to remember that there is an exception to every rule."
But the advice fell on deaf ears.
"I might as well have been talking to a brick wall," he admits in the book. "They were too busy grinning to pay attention."
It wasn't the first time Branson doled out unconventional advice. The billionaire has previously stated that having fun is one of the most important elements of any successful business.
"If you're not having fun, then it's probably time to try something else," he writes in "The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership."
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