The gambling industry is considered one of the most profitable in the world. Owners of successful casinos and betting shops have fortunes estimated in billions of dollars. Is it a matter of luck or a result of a carefully thought-out business plan? To answer this question, we made a list of the richest gambling industry representatives and found out how they managed to build such a huge wealth.
Sheldon Adelson – Las Vegas Sands owner
The king of the gambling industry and the main sponsor of Donald Trump himself. Throughout his long and eventful life, Sheldon Adelson tried his hand at different areas of business. However, his main income was generated from casino hotels. He founded the world’s largest gambling chain called Las Vegas Sands. According to experts, these establishments brought him about $32 million per day. Even by the most conservative estimates, his net worth was about $39 billion—far more than the cost of all U.S. land-based casinos combined.
Sheldon grew up in a very poor family, which made him used to earning his own living since his childhood. The boy got his first salary at the age of 10, when he was selling newspapers on the street. At 15, he already had his own candy vending machine business. By 1968, he had made about $5 million. Adelson regularly invested in startup companies and high-risk assets. He worked in the exhibition, IT and toiletries industries, and cooperated with Apple and Microsoft.
In 1989, a landmark event occurred when Adelson bought the Sands Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas. He later demolished it and built in its place The Venetian, which is the second largest hotel-casino complex in the world. He passed away in 2021 after a long battle with cancer, and his wealth was inherited by his wife and three children.
Lui Che Woo – Galaxy Casino owner
Galaxy Casino is the largest gambling establishment in Asia. It is owned by Lui Che Woo, whose fortune is estimated at $21 billion. Unlike Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire from Hong Kong had spent a long time in the real estate business. He was born in a poor family and had to face starvation in his early life. After the Japanese occupation, his family moved to Hong Kong.
Until the early 2000s, Lui had been investing in real estate and operating gambling companies. After the first legal gambling zone was introduced, he set himself an ambitious goal. Lui invested in building a casino resort in Macau and said that he would turn the area into an Asian Las Vegas. Galaxy Macau was opened in 2011, and the complex’s facilities include:
- 1500+ slot machines, 600 card game tables;
- Dozens of hotels;
- Swimming pools and beaches.
Johann Graf – Novomatic slot machines
Johann Graf is an Austrian entrepreneur and founder of Novomatic. Over the years, the company has grown into an international holding which produces video slots and land-based machines. In total, he made over $7.8 billion from the gambling business.
Like many other billionaires, Johann grew up in the post-war years. After working in a butcher shop for a few years, he decided to start his own business. His first company was a pinball machine supplier called Brodnik & Graf GmbH. Having studied the intricacies of the gambling industry, Graf began to produce his own slot machines. It turned out to be a gold mine, and after a while the Austrian entrepreneur managed to occupy 70% of the market. In the 1990s, Novomatic supplied their machines in 30 countries around the world.
Denise Coates – Bet365 betting company
Denise Coates is a 54-year-old British businesswoman, CEO and founder of Bet365. Denise made billions on sports betting. Unlike other famous industry representatives, she inherited her sportsbook business from her father. Coates, however, decided to try her hand at online betting.
According to Denise herself, the secret of her success lies in her persistence and self-belief. Even in the tough times, the Bet365 founder did not give up. Today, her site is visited by millions of people from all over the world.
- 2000 – Denise purchases the Bet365 domain and launches her website.
- Denise tries to promote her land-based betting chain, but the business does poorly.
- 2005 – the businesswoman starts to focus entirely on online betting.
- 2021 – the company employs 2500 people and has a turnover of more than $56 billion.
Mark Scheinberg – PokerStars poker room
Mark Scheinberg is an outstanding representative of the new generation of entrepreneurs who have made their money on poker games. Mark was born in Israel, but later moved to Canada with his parents. In 2001, he launched PokerStars together with his father. Easy-to-use interface and attractive conditions for players made the room stand out among its competitors.
Sheinberg subsequently sold his stake to Amaya Inc. In 2019, he entered Forbes’ list of the 500 richest people in the world with a net worth of $4.5 billion.
The owners of online casinos and land-based establishments are successful entrepreneurs with a steady income. Gambling clubs are as popular as ever, and a legal gambling business can be very profitable. Many of the industry’s billionaires started virtually from scratch, but managed to achieve incredible results thanks to their persistence, perseverance, a well-thought-out business plan and self-belief.