It is incredible how the internet has transformed our lives, especially in the aspects of entertainment and making money. An industry that has been at the forefront of entertaining and presenting people with money-making opportunities is online gambling.
As a member of the business world, you probably have been curious at some point and wanted to know the people behind online gambling companies. Or, perhaps you’re an individual interested in online gambling startups.
Whatever the case, we believe you’re here today to feed your curiosity. And to help with that, we will be sharing comprehensive biographies of the top 3 founders of online gambling companies.
So who are these three gambling gurus?…
- Denise Coates
Denise Coates is the founder and joint CEO of Bet365, one of the longest-serving online gambling companies, which facilitates over $65 billion in bets every year. The online casino and sports betting site have been operating since 2000, and it boasts over 6 million customers from more than 200 countries across the globe.
Coates is one of the wealthiest businesswomen in the UK. The Sunday Times Rich List ranks her as by far the highest-paid CEO of any British company. To be a little bit more precise, she earns three times more than the CEO of Apple – a company regarded as the most valuable worldwide.
In 2019 alone, the 52-year old businesswoman took home a whopping £323 million ($422 million) paycheck. According to Forbes Magazine, the net worth of Denise is estimated to be in the region of $12.2 billion. And currently, she owns 50.01% of Bet365 shares.
Personal Life and Business Career
Born on 26 September 1967, Denise Coates is the eldest daughter of Peter Coates. Peter Coates is the chairman of the professional football club, Stoke City. Denise Coates is married to Richard Smith, and they have five children. Four of her children are adopted. Coates is the sort of person who keeps a low profile.
After graduating from the University of Sheffield, Denise initially worked as an accountant at her family-owned bookmaking firm before taking over their several small chains of betting shops.
As an entrepreneur looking for ways to increase revenue, Coates saw a promising wave in the online gambling scene. In 2000, she used her family’s betting shops as collateral to secure a £15 million loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to invest in Bet365.
Five years later, the shops were sold off to another bookmaker known as Coral. This allowed Coates to pay off the RBS loan and focus exclusively on Bet365 and other online businesses.
Two decades after its inception, Bet365 remains one of the most respected names in the gambling industry, raking billions in revenues each year.
Denise Coates Charity Foundation
Coates gives back to the community through her Denise Coates Foundation, which has donated hundreds of millions to charities in the UK. As of 2014, for example, the organization had given out £100 million worth of donations. The recent donations came in April 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic period. Coates donated £10 million to University Hospitals to help in fighting coronavirus.
- Teddy Sagi
The online casino industry, without a doubt, owes software providers like Teddy Sagi a huge debt of gratitude. Teddy Sagi is an Israeli billionaire businessman who is well-known for creating the top-notch piece of software – Playtech, way back in 1999 when online gambling business was starting to gain traction. And up to date, the software gambling company Playtech remains one of the market leaders. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), with a market CAP of $1.054 billion.
The Sunday Times Rich List estimated Sagi’s net worth at £3.672 billion. Forbes ranks Sagi as the 6th richest person in Israel. Besides the gambling industry, Sagi has also made significant contributions to real estate, digital advertising, and payment processing sectors.
Early Life and Career
Born in 1971, Teddy Sagi is the only child of Ami Sagi and Lizi. His father owned a travel agency while the mother was a cosmetician. Sagi initially had an interest in real estate and stock market investments. Leveraging his father’s advice and knowledge, Sagi made some good money from his real estate investments. However, Sagi had bigger ambitions – to build an incredible amount of wealth. Therefore, he had to look for another way to make his dream come true.
Teddy Sagi wanted to put money in industries with a potentially lucrative return or investment, and his research led him to internet-based gambling companies. This was back in the mid-1990s when more and more people were gravitating towards internet technology.
Instead of investing in a gambling platform, Sagi saw another opportunity in the online software. Using the money generated from real estate and stock market investments, Sagi hired a top of the line engineers and developers who helped him transform traditional-land-based casino games to digital games. The games became players’ firm favorites due to their cutting-edge gameplay, maximum immersions, and unique entertainment level. The Playtech software was powerful and innovative, and only a few other online gambling software firms could compete with it at that time.
Playtech games became quickly popular in the online gaming community, thanks to their enhanced graphics, easy-to-use interface, and sound quality. They also offered an impressive selection of games for players to choose from. This led to many of the UK facing online casinos being powered by Playtech.
Playtech’s software was created with technological advancements in mind. The variety continued to expand as years later, Playtech developed bingo and poker software. In 2005, the software featured games that were compatible with mobile devices. The following year, Playtech Software Company was floated on the LSE, with a value estimated at £550 million.
Playtech continued to grow over the years, adding more entertaining titles to their game selection. They have also signed numerous licensing deal agreements with popular industry names, such as William Hill, bet365, Paddy Power, and Titan. Currently, this software provider has more than 3,000 employees across eight countries – the UK, Isle of Man, Cyprus, Israel, Bulgaria, Sweden, Estonia, and the Philippines.
Sale of Playtech
In 2016, Sagi sold approximately 12% of the Playtech shares for £330 million. Two years later, he sold the remaining shares.
As Playtech continued to thrive, Sagi made other business moves. He purchased a financial trading firm, TradeFX, in which he owned 86.5% of the shares. With his new-found wealth, Sagi invested in real estate by purchasing Camden Market Holdings in March 2014 for £400 million. He owns the most important sections of the market, which is a popular center for tourist attraction in London.
Sagi has also had a hand in other lines of business. Notably, he has enjoyed success on London’s AIM with SafeCharge and Kape Technologies plc. SafeCharge is an online payment processor company, while Kape Technologies is a cybersecurity firm. SafeCharge was sold to Nuvei for $899 million.
- Isai Scheinberg
If you’re a poker fan, you might have heard of the Israeli-Canadian Isai Scheinberg. He has been a pioneer in the online poker world. Scheinberg’s love for the game drove him to establish PokerStars in 2001. PokerStars is a highly respected online poker site worldwide.
The PYR software powering PokerStars was created in 2000 by Scheinberg and his team of developers and engineers. It was an advanced software with vibrant graphics that many pokers players were impressed with.
During the first launch in September 2001, PokerStars simply allowed players to test the site features with beta play-money. The site started allowing poker fans to play for real money three months later.
Personal Life, Career, and Interest in Poker
Born in 1946, Isai Scheinberg grew up in a humble background. He joined Moscow State University in Russia, thanks to a scholarship he earned after scoring excellent grades. At first, Scheinberg joined the college to pursue a business degree. However, he changed his mind and opted to specialize in mathematics towards the end of the first year. Scheinberg graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Russian university.
After graduation, he joined the Israeli Defense Force and worked for three years, helping the military design and produce custom-made weapons. While working in the military, Scheinberg developed an interest in poker. He would play and compete with other soldiers, and his love for the game intensified because he would outsmart his competitors with an aggressive style of play.
Soon after leaving the military, Scheinberg got a job at IBM’s offices in Israel. The superiors were impressed with his unique programming skills, and this earned him a ticket to Canada to go and train other IBM programmers. He acquired Canadian citizenship after he got married to Libby, whom he met at a gambling hall in Dawson City, Yukon.
Scheinberg would regularly play and enter local poker tournaments until he decided to put his skills and ideas to test by creating a poker site.
Trouble with Authorities
Scheinberg colluded with banks facing a financial crisis to secretly process gambling transactions of US players after the US banned internet gambling in 2006. Things backfired in 2011, as the US seized PokerStars’ domain. The Department of Justice slapped Scheinberg with a fine of $765 million. While he recovered the domain, some of the criminal charges relating to PokerStars were never dropped.
Sale of PokerStars
In 2014, Scheinberg decided to sell his shares in PokerStars to Amaya Gaming, a Canadian online gambling company.
There you have it, and we hope you enjoyed reading the post!