6 Top Players in Online Gambling Industry


Posted: June 17, 2015

Updated: October 6, 2017

These people heavily influenced the gaming business in the last decades in order to transform it to a major global industry.

  • They have transformed the gambling industry
  • The biggest gamblers ever
  • From small shop owners to billionaires

Everybody who was involved with bet on sports in the UK at some point in his life, or have seen advertisements of sportsbooks or internet casinos should know these brands. Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Bwin.Party – these might be familiar to anyone, however you might know much less about the people who are behind these labels. Many of these companies started out as small, single shop or family businesses, but the most successful gamblers made them famous all over the world. So let’s get to know to half a dozen of them, since they are the biggest players in the online gambling industry!

Denise Coates

The founder of Bet365 is often listed as the most influential and wealthiest person involved in online gambling. It is no surprise given his fortune is estimated around USD 3.6 billion which was good enough to secure him a place on the latest rich list of Forbes magazine. She is the daughter of Peter Coates, chairman of Premier League football club Stoke City.

Denise Coates Bet365

Denise Coates, Bet365 founder (Photo: The Independent)

Denise became involved with the gambling business while she was attending the University of Sheffield, working in her family’s bookmaking firm. In 2000, while managing her chain of shops, she started to create a site offering internet betting in the UK. Bet365 started to operate in 2001 and since it has become one of the biggest online gambling companies in the world. Denise is still running the company with his brother, John.

Fred and Peter Done

The Done brothers are the founders of the famous British sportsbook, Betfred. They have founded the company in 1967, operating as a single shop, and around the new millennium they already enjoyed a considerable wealth succeeding GBP 500 million.

Fred Done Betfred

Fred Done, Betfred founder (Photo: Manchester Evening News)

However, the boom came in 2004, when their turnover was more than GBP 3.5 billion. Now their joint net worth is estimated around GBP 1 billion and though Betfred runs a vastly successful online sportsbook, they also have more than 1,350 betting shops.

Peter Done Betfred

Peter Done, Betfred founder (Photo: Tony O’Brien/Action Image)

In March 1998 Fred Done became the first ever bookmaker to pay out early, as he paid out punters who wagered money on favourites Manchester United becoming Premier League champions only to be topped by Arsenal in the end. He made the same mistake in 2012, when Manchester City secured the title on goal difference ahead of Man United.

Victor Chandler

In 2005 Fred Done lost GBP 1 million to fellow gambling mogul Victor Chandler, as Done wagered the money on Manchester United finishing higher in the Premier League then would-be champions Chelsea. However, not this anecdote is the most important thing about Chandler but the fact that he is regarded as the first bookmaker who recognized the importance of online gambling, after being involved with far-eastern football bets from the early 1990s.

Victor Chandler betvictor

Victor Chandler, BetVictor founder (Photo: The Telegraph)

He was also the first within the gambling industry to move his business, BetVictor, offshore, setting up an office in Antigua in order to avoid UK tax for his clients. He moved his company to Gibraltar in 1999, and with the growth of internet gambling in the UK and overseas his business boomed in the 2000s. In 2014, major shareholder Michael Tabor took over the company.

Ruth Parasol and Russ DeLeon

The former couple, having three children together, separated in 2010 and divorced in 2013, but they are usually mentioned together. They started to work at PartyGaming in 2001 and they were able to turn the decent company into a gambling giant in four years. They made half a billion dollars in 2005 after the company was introduced to the London Stock Exchange, though they also lost a considerable fortune after PartyGaming left the US market next year. Parasol is still the largest individual stakeholder in the company that is called Bwin.Party today, while his former husband is involved in filmmaking business.

Ruth Parasol and Russ DeLeon Party Gaming

Ruth Parasol (Photo: Parasol Foundation) and Russ DeLeon (Photo:TirochedeLeon) , Party Gaming founders

These remarkable business people are also big gamblers themselves – they are actually amongst the biggest players in the world. Without them the gambling industry wouldn’t be the one we know today, so anyone who is involved in the gaming industry could understand the gambling world a bit more by knowing these entrepreneurs.

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