The 10 richest gambling personalities in the world 2022
List of the wealthiest people in the gambling sector
The richest gambling personalities in the world have all earned their money by running a (online) casino or providing equipment and services to others in the industry. Forbes has updated their list for 2022, and so there is also a new Top 10 richest gambling bosses in the world.
Most people will not get rich from gambling. Although you can win huge amounts of money with lotteries, slot machines, and poker, most people lose money with gambling. But where money is lost, others win. The biggest winners are on the other side of the slots and gaming tables: you can walk in if you have your own gambling business!
If you really want to get rich from gambling, you need to start a gambling business. Whether it’s a casino in Las Vegas, an online casino, or a software company, the real money is made when you take a cut from all the gamblers. The gambling bosses are the real big earners.
Forbes keeps a list of the wealthiest people in the world. Based on various sources, Fobes tries to estimate how rich people are, and the site is considered the standard in that area. The list is continuously updated because a person’s wealth can fluctuate quite a lot. Moreover, rich people never have their wealth in cash in their bank accounts. Instead, their wealth is calculated based on interests in companies.
Karel Komárek initially made his money in oil and gas, but we find him in this list because one of his companies, Allwyn (former SAZKA), has since 2012 focused on the lotteries market.
Komárek’s wealth is estimated by Forbes at $7.7 billion, making him one of the richest Czechs. In 1995, he founded KKCG, which has a broad portfolio of investments. In 2012, KKCG took over the company SAZKA, which was already the giant lottery in the Czech Republic. As a result, the company expanded and is now one of the most prominent players in the European lottery market. In 2021, the name of the company was changed to Allwyn.
Allwyn has interests in the Austrian Casino Austria and the Greek gambling company OPAP. It is also the largest lottery company in Cyprus. Komárek is a wealthy gambling boss with interests all over the world.
Teddy Sagi is the founder of Playtech, one of the world’s largest software providers to gambling companies. For example, Playtech provides the platform on which Holland Casino’s online casino will run (Playtech One), offers the iPoker network, and builds and hosts casino games such as live blackjack and live roulette for hundreds of online casinos around the world.
Sagi started Playtech in 1999 in the Estonian city of Tartu. In 2006 the company went public with a value of £550 million. Sagi then held 80.1% of the company’s shares. Today, he owns only a tiny portion of the company and has focused more on real estate and other technology businesses. Among other things, Sagi is the owner of Camden Market, London’s second most popular tourist destination after Buckingham Palace.
Sagi was born in Tel Aviv in 1971 but is now also a citizen of the European Union after receiving a Cypriot passport in 2009. Before founding Playtech in 1999, Sagi spent nine months in jail in Israel for bribery and fraud. His wealth is estimated by Forbes at $5.6/€5.1 billion, and he is one of the richest gambling bosses in Israel.
The 54-year-old Denise Coates is one of the richest women globally and, for years the highest-paid CEO of any company in the UK. She is the eldest daughter of Peter Coates and worked at an early age at Provincial Racing, her father’s small bookmaker.
After graduating from the University of Sheffield, she continued working at Provincial Racing and, in 1995, took over the running of the company from her father. That same year, she applied for a loan to take over another bookmaker.
In 2000, she took over the domain name Bet365.com from the auction site eBay for $25,000. She borrowed $15 million with the gambling offices as collateral. With the borrowed money, she set up Bet365 as a full-fledged online bookmaker.
Bet365 grew into one of the world’s largest gambling companies, and Denise Coates (with 50.1% of the shares) became one of the most successful women in the United Kingdom. Coates earned a hefty salary in recent years, and her wealth is estimated by Forbes at $5.3 billion.
Mark Scheinberg is one of the founders of PokerStars and one of the richest gambling bosses in the world.
Mark Scheinberg is one of the founders of PokerStars, along with his father, Isai. The 48-year-old Scheinberg was born in Israel, but the family later moved to Toronto, Canada, where Mark grew up. He calls the Isle of Man home these days, although he also has houses and flats in Madrid, Canada, and Costa Rica.
Isai Scheinberg was a programmer for IBM in Toronto when he got the idea to set up an online poker room. Together with his son, he eventually founded PokerStars. Unfortunately, the site’s launch on 11 September 2001 was overshadowed by the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers.
PokerStars grew to become the largest online poker room globally, partly because its biggest competitors left the US market after the UIEGA, a US law that made it illegal for companies to do business with online gambling companies, came into effect. The Scheinbergs did not share their competitors’ view that online gambling was illegal and continued to serve the US market.
Isai and Mark Scheinberg set up a holding company above PokerStars called Rational Group and eventually saw that company bought by AMAYA after the FBI blacklisted PokerStars and two competitors. AMAYA eventually changed its name to The Stars Group, which merged into Flutter, formed by Paddy Power and Betfair. Mark and Isai Scheinberg made billions from the sale of the RATIONAL Group and have since disposed of any interest in PokerStars or its parent company Flutter.
Today, Mark Scheinberg and Mohari Hospitality invest mainly in real estate, including Madrid. Forbes estimates Mark Scheinberg’s fortune at $5.3/€4.9 billion. Mark’s father Isai Scheinberg does not appear on the Forbes list and does not even have a personal profile on forbes.com. It seems as if Isai Scheinberg’s entire fortune has also been attributed to son Mark by the site since 2020, making son Mark the richest gambling boss in the family.
Miriam Adelson: the richest of the world’s gambling personalities
Sheldon Adelson had an estimated net worth of $40.2 billion when he died early last year at 87. Adelson grew up in Boston as the son of immigrants. Sheldon Adelson came a long way and became CEO of the casino company called Las Vegas Sands over the years.
Adelson was more than half the owner of Las Vegas Sands, the company with casinos in Singapore and Macau, including the largest casino in the world. The company was previously best known for The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas but sold those casinos to Apollo in March 2021 for $6.25 billion. Adelson entered the casino industry in 1989 when he was already 55 when he bought the Sands Hotel & Casino with some partners for $128 million.
After his death, Miriam Adelson inherited Sheldon’s fortune. Born in Tel Aviv in 1945, Miriam Adelson was previously married to Ariel Ochshorn and had two children with him. She divorced Ochshorn in the 1980s and went on a blind date with Sheldon Adelson in 1989. Sheldon Adelson had divorced his wife Sandra Adelson a year earlier, whose three children he had adopted.
Miriam Adelson is an internist and publisher of the newspaper Israel Hayom. In 2019, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump, to which the Adelson family were major donors.
The wealth of 76-year-old Miriam Adelson was estimated by Forbes at $27.5 billion. This makes her the wealthiest gambling personality in the world.
Lui Che-woo, also written as Lui Che Woo, has an estimated wealth of $11.6 billion to Forbes. This makes him one of the richest men in Hong Kong, and despite his advanced age (Lui was born in 1929), he is still active in his business.
Woo is chairman of K. Wah International Holdings (KWIH) and the Galaxy Entertainment Group. Both companies are listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
K. Wah started as a building materials supplier and then moved into real estate. It primarily develops Hong Kong, China, Macau, and Singapore properties.
The Galaxy Entertainment Group is where the link with gambling businesses comes in: it is one of the largest operators of casinos in Macau. The group owns StarWorld and Galaxy Macau, two giant casino complexes in Macau. Galaxy Entertainment also owns The Waldo Casino, President Casino, Rio Casino, and Broadway Casino.
Lui’s eldest son, Francis, is currently in charge of the Galaxy projects, while Lui’s other son Alexander and daughter Paddy are in day-to-day control at KWIH. A family of rich gambling bosses, then.
Johann Graf is the owner of the Austrian gambling company Novomatic. Forbes estimates the 76-year-old Graf’s wealth at $5.0 billion.
According to Bloomberg, Graf grew up in Vienna and learned as a butcher. Then, in the 1970s, he started his own company together with Gerhard Brodnik and they imported pinball machines from Belgium.
In the 1980s, Brodnik left the company, and Graf started to focus more on manufacturing slot machines under Admiral. They opened casinos under the same name that we know today in the Netherlands.
Graf’s Novomatic became a significant player in the slot machine market. The company was one of the first to use touchscreens on its machines, which caused an explosive increase in popularity.
Today, Novomatic is also known for its online offerings. The company has owned Greentube studio since 2010, and since 2018, it has a majority stake in Ainsworth Game Technology. Euro coin Interactive is another branch of Novomatic that you come across a lot in game development.
Graf is divorced and has three children. He collects cars, especially Jaguars. He can justifiably be called one of the richest gambling bosses in the world.
Paul Gausselmann is a wealthy gambling boss of the old school. His company runs Merkur casinos and operates pokie machines.
Paul Gausselmann was born in 1934 in Borghorst, Germany but grew up in Münster. After primary school, he started working as a clerk at the telecoms before working for an importer of American jukeboxes in 1956. He started developing mechanical musical instruments himself a year later, such as the barrel organ and the pianola. In 1965, he joined Harting, a small company that developed musical equipment, but in the meantime, he continued to develop equipment himself and applied for patents on his inventions.
From making music machines, the step to developing gaming machines was not a big one. However, the mechanical devices had many of the same parts, and in the end, Paul Gausselmann devoted himself entirely to this line of business while still securing all patents.
In 1974, Paul Gausselmann opened his own amusement arcade Merkur in Delmenhorst, but he continued to sell his devices to other operators.
Today, Paul Gausselmann’s company is still engaged in the rental and sale of gaming machines and the operation of its own Merkur casinos. In Germany, the group has more than 200 branches. In the Netherlands you can find Merkur casinos in Almere, Amsterdam, Boskoop, Hoofddorp, Rotterdam and Valkenburg.
Forbes estimates the wealth of Paul Gausselmann at $4.0/€3.7 billion. He is a wealthy gambling boss of the old school.
The 54-year-old James Packer is the former managing director of Australian Crown Resorts. With a net worth estimated by Forbes at $3.8 billion, he is one of the newcomers to this list.
Packer comes from a wealthy family headed by media mogul Kerry Packer. After completing high school, James Packer went to work for his father. His father’s company was a significant shareholder in Crown Casino’s parent company.
After Kerry Packer passed away in 2005, James Packer took over the company. In 2007, Crown Casino was disowned by its parent company. Packer immediately stepped in and founded the new company Crown Resorts Limited.
Under his leadership, the company became the market leader in Australia. In addition, he established luxury resorts in Australia and Macau. He also took over Aspinalls in London, renamed Crown London Aspinalls.
In 2019, he sold half his shares before the company was acquired by US investor group Blackstone Inc. in 2022 for $6.4 billion. By then, he was no longer a director as he stepped down in 2018.
The name of Steve Wynn is inextricably linked with Las Vegas. He was the founder of several legendary casinos in the gambling city, including The Mirage, Bellagio, and Wynn Las Vegas.
Wynn grew up the son of a bingo operator in Utica, New York. After his father died in 1963, Wynn dropped out of Yale to work in his father’s company.
In 1967, he moved to Las Vegas, where he bought shares in the Golden Nugget. He became a major shareholder in the casino in 1973. Finally, in 1980, he opened a Golden Nugget branch in Atlantic City. Three years later, Wynn sold this successful casino for $440 million.
1989 was the year Wynn put himself firmly on the map of Las Vegas. His latest project, The Mirage, rose from the ground. At the time, it was the most expensive casino project ever in terms of cost. Later, the wealthy Americans also had the Bellagio built. The luxury casino resort opened in 1998, and Wynn remained the owner until 2000. The multimillionaire then sold his company, Mirage Resorts, to MGM Grand Inc.
Wynn founded the company Wynn Resorts in 2002. With this company, too, he achieved many successes in the hotel and casino world. With resorts in Las Vegas and Macau, he was a prominent player in the industry. However, in early 2018, he stepped down as managing director because he was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, something he has always denied.
The 80-year-old businessman has an estimated $3.3/€3.0 billion and is new to the top 10 richest gambling bosses this year.