Anybody who has ever considered gambling must have come across the above statement. No matter how much you win, the house wins its piece right back. But who is the house?
Turns out there are many houses, and the following people have the keys to them. These people are some of the wealthiest in the gambling industry. Together, they hold the reigns of the most exclusive brick-and-mortar casinos worldwide and top-shelf online casinos.
1. Denise Coates, Bet365
If you have ever placed a bet on bet365, you have Denise Coates to thank for it. Although founded in 2000 alongside her brother John Coates, Denise is the majority shareholder with 50.1% of the shares.
Denise, who has now amassed a staggering net worth of over $12 billion, started the bet365 company humbly in Stoke-on-Trent with a bank loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland. The family’s betting shop estate started by her father, Peter Coates, in 1974 served as collateral. It is believed that most of her net worth is linked to her massive annual salaries, with her getting paid about £473 million in 2020, £300 million in 2021 and £213 million in 2022. This puts her and bet365 miles ahead of many owners of the best offshore gambling sites, like the Mohawk Morris Gaming Group’s $11.6 million or David Carruthers’ $20 million.
You can doubt her methods, but no doubt the results speak for themselves. Following the US Supreme Court’s ruling on sports betting in 2018, Denise and bet365 announced their plans to set up shop in the United States with their eyes on partners like the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City and Century Casinos in the state of Colorado.
2. Jeremy Peter Jackson, Flutter Entertainment
As far as resumes go, it takes some doing to topple Jeremy Jackson, the Chief Executive Officer of Flutter Entertainment, formerly called Paddy Power Betfair PLC. As you can probably guess, the company owns Paddy Power, Betfair, and other brands like Sky Betting and Gambling, Sportsbet, which targets mostly the Australian betting market, and PokerStars, the largest real money online poker cardroom in the world, controlling about 66% of the total online poker market.
Before joining Flutter Entertainment in January 2018, he had worked at McKinsey & Company, Lloyds Bank, and Halifax Bank of Scotland and was CEO of Travelex. He worked a short stint at Banco Santander and another stint at WorldPay as CEO of their UK operations before joining Paddy Power Betfair.
His net worth is believed to be around $5 million.
3. Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands
In Las Vegas, a city famous for big personalities and second chances, Sheldon Adelson stands out as one of the biggest names.
The Israeli-American always had an eye for business, having developed the COMDEX shows alongside his partners in 1970, which he later sold to Softbank Group of Japan, pocketing nearly half a billion dollars from the sale.
Like all other great businessmen with a vision, he already set his eye on a new goal, and it was the Sands Hotel and Casino, which he and his partners purchased for over $100 million (about $300 million today after adjusted for inflation) from Howard Hughes. In a daring move, Sheldon bought out his partners before shutting it down to rebuild The Venetian.
It would appear the octogenarian was only just getting started as he –with his company, Las Vegas Sands– built another casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It opened about a year later than scheduled, on May 22, 2009, and was the only Las Vegas Sands-owned property to carry the Sands name since the Sands Hotel and Casino. However, this was short-lived, as he sold the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, now called The Wind Creek Bethlehem, to Wind Creek Hospitality in March 2018 for $1.3 billion.
Sheldon also forayed beyond the shores of the United States, having presented China with its first Vegas-styled casino with the awe-inspiring one million square feet Sands Macao in May 2004. A feat he in no time replicated and surpassed when he won a hotly contested license to construct a casino in Singapore, which he did in the name of the Marina Bay Sands, which, when it opened in 2010, was the world’s most expensive building.
Although now deceased, no list of juggernauts in the gambling industry is complete without the man, the legend himself, who passed on in 2021 with a net worth of about $40 billion.
4. Lui Che Woo, Galaxy Entertainment Group
The seventh-richest man in Hong Kong, Lui Che Woo, has made a fortune as the founder and former chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group and K. Wah International Holdings Limited.
His journey to riches started in the 50s in Hong Kong when he established the first K. Wah holdings with Stanford Hotels International, K. Wah Construction Materials Limited, and Galaxy Entertainment Group as subsidiaries. In the 60s, he diversified into property investments and hotel development and expansion in the 80s into the next decade. In the early 2000s, he forayed into the gaming business in Macau, where he became one of the six operators in the region.
He established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the industry when he commissioned the $2 billion Galaxy Macau. It was a marvel at the time and still turning heads to date, with over 2,000 rooms, slightly under 500 gambling tables, 50 restaurants, a wave pool, and an artificial beach.
$15 billion in net worth, a Member of the Order of the British Empire in ‘82, and Justice of Peace in ‘86, Lui Che Woo is the billionaire jack of all trades, master of all.
5. William Hornbuckle, MGM
Close your eyes and imagine a casino in Sin City, and I’d bet your bottom dollar you saw the MGM Casino. You do not need to have been there to know it; any boxing fan must have watched one of the many iconic fights go down there. A few such iconic fights include but are not limited to Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II, Oscar De La Hoya fighting Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Managing such a fine, iconic establishment is a challenging task. Yet, William Hornbuckle has done it since he was appointed President of MGM Resorts International in 2012, Chief Operating Officer in 2019, Acting CEO in March 2020, and CEO in July of the same year. With more than 30 years working in Vegas, you could argue there’s no one better to do the job.
William currently serves as Chair of the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and was on the 25-man People to Watch List by Global Gaming Business Magazine in 2021. He is estimated to have a net worth of slightly more than $40 million.
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