Gaming industry reigns supreme on Forbes’ World Billionaires list

Maria Debrincat 6 months ago
Gaming industry reigns supreme on Forbes’ World Billionaires list

Forbes’ annual “World’s Billionaires List” was published this week, with the worldwide casino and gaming industries representing 24 of the 2,640 individuals who made it into the elite ten-figure club

According to the latest report by the business media outlet, the combined net worth of the world’s wealthiest individuals amounts to $12.2 trillion, a decline of around $500 billion from the previous year’s report.

Dr. Miriam Adelson, whose late husband Sheldon Adelson established Las Vegas Sands, continues to hold the top spot as the wealthiest mogul whose fortune primarily stems from gaming. With an estimated net worth of $35 billion, Adelson’s wealth has increased by $7.5 billion from last year, placing her as the 35th richest person in the world.

Who are the 24 gaming tycoons listed on Forbes 2023 list?

Rank: 35 – Miriam Adelson & Family – Las Vegas Sands – $35.7 billion

Following the passing of former CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, Miriam Adelson, his widow, now holds a majority ownership of the gambling empire, which operates casinos in Singapore and Macao and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Adelsons were prominent Republican donors and contributed a total of $180 million to GOP campaigns and political action committees in 2020. Originally from Israel, Miriam Adelson pursued a career in medicine with a focus on addiction.

In February 2022, Las Vegas Sands sold its assets on the Vegas Strip, including the Venetian Resort and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, to Apollo Global and VICI Properties for $6.25 billion.

Miriam Adelson & Family, Las Vegas Sands, $35.7 billion.

Rank: 114 – Lui Che Woo – Chairman of Galaxy – $15.2 billion

The chairman of Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group and Hong Kong-listed property developer K. Wah International Holdings is Lui Che Woo. K. Wah started out as a supplier of construction materials but now focuses on property development in Hong Kong and mainland China.

In 2015, Lui made a substantial donation of $1.2 billion to endow his foundation and establish the Lui Che Woo Prize. His eldest son, Francis, manages the Galaxy’s operations, while his daughter Paddy and son Alexander are involved in K. Wah.

Lui first gained recognition as a supplier of gravel during Hong Kong’s postwar construction boom.

Lui Che Woo, Chairman of Galaxy, $15.2 billion.

Rank: 248 – Karel Komarek – founder of Allwyn Group (lottery) – $8.3 billion

After the Velvet Revolution in the 1990s, Karel Komarek began his career in the oil and gas industry in the Czech Republic. In 2010, he parted ways with his family’s business to establish his own investment group, KKCG. The group now invests in a range of industries, including entertainment, information technology, real estate, and biomedicine.

Komarek established the Sazka Group (later renamed Allwyn) in 2016, which rapidly became the largest lottery owner in Europe. In January 2022, he agreed to merge Allwyn with a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) to take the company public.

Karel Komarek, Allwyn Group, $8.3 billion.

Rank: 300 – Enrique Razon Jr – Bloomberry Resorts – $7.4 billion

Enrique Razon Jr. is the chairman of International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI), the Philippines’ premier ports operator. ICTSI also has subsidiaries in various regions, including the Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Razon’s family has been in the port business since his grandfather founded a port in Manila in 1916. Following the destruction of the port during World War II, Razon’s father rebuilt it, and Razon himself expanded the business globally.

The Solaire Resort and Casino in the Philippines is the most valuable asset of Razon’s hospitality company, Bloomberry Resorts.

Razon’s Prime Infrastructure Capital, which has interests in water utilities and renewable energy, postponed its $518 million IPO until the first half of 2023 due to unfavorable market conditions.

Enrique Razon Jr, Bloomberry Resorts, $7.4 billion.

Rank: 313 – Johann Graf – owner of Novomatic – $7.2 billion

Johann Graf is the proprietor of Novomatic Group, which manages casinos globally and produces and sells slot machines, video poker games, and electronic table games.

Graf was brought up by his grandparents in a cramped apartment without basic amenities. Despite being expected to take over his family’s butcher shop, he ventured into importing American pinball machines to Austria through Belgium and subsequently became an agent for a British slot machine firm. In 1980, he launched his own company, Novomatic, which he rapidly expanded into Switzerland and the Eastern Bloc following the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Johann Graf, Novomatic, $7.2 billion.

Rank: 326 – Denise Coates – co-CEO of Bet365 – $7 billion

Bet365’s co-CEO, along with her billionaire brother John, is Denise Coates. Bet365 is one of the world’s biggest online gaming companies.

Coates started as an accountant before acquiring several of her family’s betting shops and then selling them to bookmaker Coral. After noticing the success of online gaming firms, she acquired the domain in 2000 and launched the website a year later.

Coates owns approximately half of privately held Bet365, which allows more than $65 billion in wagers each year.

Denise Coates, Bet365, $7 billion.

Rank: 458 – Teddy Sagi – founder of Playtech – $5.5 billion

Teddy Sagi established Playtech, a gambling software developer, in 1999, and grew it into a firm with $700 million in sales, which is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange.

In 2016, Sagi disposed of a 12% interest in Playtech for nearly $400 million, and in November 2018, he sold the remainder for $88 million. On London’s AIM, he has floated four firms: Playtech, Market Tech, SafeCharge (an online payment processor), and Kape (a cybersecurity company).

In July 2017, Sagi acquired Market Tech (now Labtech London), which owns a collection of London real estate, including the famous Camden Market, and made it private. In 2019, he sold SafeCharge to the Canadian company Nuvei for $889 million. Additionally, he has invested in technology start-ups and co-working spaces.

Teddy Sagi, Playtech, $5.5 billion.

Rank: 502 – Mark Scheinberg – co-founder of PokerStars – $5.2 billion

Mark Scheinberg, along with his father Isai, co-founded PokerStars, which grew to become the world’s largest online poker company before he sold his 75% stake in the parent company Rational Group in 2014 for more than $3 billion.

He was only 28 years old when he helped launch PokerStars in 2001, and he benefited greatly from the ensuing poker craze in the US and around the world. Scheinberg has since invested some of his sale proceeds in luxury hospitality assets through his real estate investment vehicle, Mohari. His holdings include a stake in the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a historic hotel in Madrid, and a luxury resort in Costa Rica.

Mark Scheinberg, PokerStars, $5.2 billion.

Rank: 726 – Pansy Ho – co-chair of MGM China/chair of Shun Tak – $3.8 billion

Shun Tak Holdings, a property developer that runs ferries and operates hotels in Hong Kong and Macau, is chaired by Pansy Ho. Her late father, Stanley Ho, was a legendary Macau gaming tycoon and founded the company.

Ho also holds significant shares in MGM China and her father’s former company, SJM, both of which operate casinos in Macau. In 2011, she made over $1.5 billion from MGM China’s IPO. However, she was deemed an “unsuitable” partner by a New Jersey judge and ordered to sell out of Atlantic City’s Borgata, but was eventually allowed to retain her stake after reducing her shares in MGM China.

Pansy Ho, MGM China/Shun Tak, $3.8 billion.

Rank: 897 – Steve Wynn – $3.2 billion

Steve Wynn, son of an East Coast bingo parlor operator, ventured into Las Vegas casinos in 1967 and created some of the city’s most iconic resorts, such as The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, and Wynn Las Vegas.

Wynn stepped down as Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts in 2018 after several women accused him of sexual misconduct, which he denies. He co-founded Wynn Resorts with his former wife, Elaine Wynn, in 2002, and after their divorce, she became one of the largest shareholders in the company.
Wynn also faced legal battles over his divorce agreement with Elaine and with former partner Kazuo Okada, who he accused of bribery, which Okada denied.
In 2022, the DOJ sued Wynn for allegedly lobbying President Trump on behalf of China without registering as a foreign agent, but Wynn is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.

Steve Wynn, Wynn Las Vegas, $3.2 billion.

Rank: 902 – John Coates – co-CEO of Bet365 – $3.2 billion

John Coates is one of the co-CEOs of Bet365, a major player in the online gambling industry with a global presence and over 53 million customers in 200 countries. He partnered with his billionaire sister and fellow co-CEO, Denise, in 2001 to establish Bet365 after selling some of their father’s betting shops. John owns a quarter of the company. In addition to his role at Bet365, he also serves as the vice chairman of Stoke City Football Club, in which Bet365 holds a majority stake, starting from July 2015.

John Coates, Bet365, $3.2 billion.

Rank: 907 – Jon Yarbrough – Video Gaming Technologies (sold to Aristocrat in 2014 for $1.3 billion) – $3.2 billion

Video Gaming Technologies, a company that produces casino games, was founded by Jon Yarbrough in 1991. The business flourished due to the spread of tribal casinos, with Yarbrough working with roughly 35 tribes across 100-plus locations during his tenure. In 2014, he sold the company to Aristocrat Leisure, an Australian firm, for approximately $1.3 billion. Currently, he manages his investments, which include real estate and tech stocks, through his family office Yarbrough Capital.

Jon Yarbrough, Video Gaming Technologies, $3.2 billion.

Rank: 1077 – Chen Lip Keong – CEO of NagaCorp – $2.8 billion

Chen Lip Keong’s NagaWorld, which operates in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, has been granted a casino license until 2065 and a guaranteed monopoly until 2035. It is currently the largest casino resort in Indochina, with Naga2 located across the street and connected by the underground mall NagaCity Walk, which opened in November 2017. NagaCorp is the first casino company to be listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange and to do business principally in Cambodia. However, NagaCorp announced in March 2022 that it has put the development of its casino resort in Vladivostok on hold indefinitely due to “uncertainties.” In April 2022, Chen Lip Keong was appointed as senior CEO and his three sons, Chen Yiy Fon, Chen Cherchi and Chen Yiy Hwuan, were named as CEOs, responsible for overseeing operations, finance, and hotels respectively.

Chen Lip Keong, NagaCorp, $2.8 billion.

Rank: 1101 – Angela Leong –SJM Holdings – $2.7 billion

Angela Leong is an elected Macau legislator and the largest individual shareholder and managing director of SJM Holdings, a publicly traded casino company that operates 20 casinos in Macau. The company is one of six authorized to operate casinos in the region. She is the fourth wife of the late Stanley Ho, who founded STDM, which controls SJM Holdings. Leong began investing in her early twenties and has amassed a large portfolio of Hong Kong properties, which constitute the bulk of her wealth.

Angela Leong, SJM Holdings, $2.7 billion.

Rank: 1266 – Lim Kok Thay – chairman of Genting – $2.4 billion

Genting, a global casino and resorts conglomerate, is led by Lim Kok Thay as its chairman. However, in January 2022, Lim was forced to step down as chairman of troubled cruise operator Genting Hong Kong, which had been severely impacted by the pandemic and filed a winding-up petition.

Lim has a diverse portfolio of assets, including Empire Resorts, the parent company of Resorts World Catskills, which has been experiencing losses.

In early 2020, a prolonged family dispute over the empire’s wealth and businesses, which include a palm-oil unit, was finally settled.

Lim Kok Thay, Genting, $2.4 billion.

Rank: 1392 – Elaine Wynn – $2.1 billion

Elaine Wynn, also known as the “Queen of Las Vegas,” became the largest individual shareholder of Wynn Resorts in 2018 after her ex-husband and former CEO, Steve Wynn, sold all his shares due to sexual misconduct allegations. Elaine launched a successful proxy battle in May 2018, resulting in the resignation of two longtime board members who were loyal to Steve. Elaine and Steve launched Mirage Resorts in 1973 and cofounded Wynn Resorts in 2002. Elaine served as a board member for 13 years until 2015. She worked Sundays at Steve’s father’s bingo hall before moving to Las Vegas. Elaine pledged a $50 million donation in 2016 as co-chair of LACMA to build a new permanent collection space.

Elaine Wynn, Wynn Resorts, $2.1 billion.

Rank: 1407 – William Boyd and family – Boyd Gaming Corporation – $2.1 billion

Bill Boyd is a co-founder of Boyd Gaming Corporation, established with his father, Sam Boyd, in 1975.
After his father passed away in 1993, he took over as CEO and held the position until 2008, when he became the executive chairman.
Boyd currently owns about 17% of the company, which has grown to operate 28 properties across ten states.

William Boyd and family, Boyd Gaming Corporation, $2.1 billion.

Rank: 1657 – Fredrik Österberg – Evolution AB (casino solutions) – $1.8 billion

Fredrik Österberg, together with Jens von Bahr, founded Evolution AB in 2006. The company offers casino solutions to online gambling operators, with a focus on live-streamed tables for games such as blackjack, poker, craps, and roulette. Evolution’s first casino studio was established in Riga, Lithuania, in 2006, and it now operates live-casino studios in nine countries, including the United States. The company went public on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 2015 and now serves over 700 customers in 21 countries. Its products are available globally for end-users. Before starting Evolution, Österberg was the CEO of Sportal Nordic.

Fredrik Österberg, Evolution AB, $1.8 billion.

Rank: 1732 – Jens von Bahr – Evolution AB (casino solutions) – $1.7 billion

Jens von Bahr, along with Fredrik ‘sterberg, founded Evolution AB in 2006. While he was CEO of the company until 2016, he is now the chairman of the publicly traded casino supplier. Evolution primarily sells live-streamed tables of popular games such as blackjack, poker, craps, and roulette to online gambling operators. The company went public in Stockholm in 2015 and has over 700 customers in 21 countries. Evolution’s products are available worldwide for end-users. The company’s first casino studio was established in Riga, Lithuania, and today it has live-casino studios in nine countries, including the United States. Prior to founding Evolution, von Bahr was responsible for the Sri Lankan operations of Oriflame, a Swiss-Swedish multi-level marketing firm that specialises in beauty products.

Jens von Bahr, Evolution AB, $1.7 billion.

Rank: 1999 – Kazuo Okada – $1.4 billion

In 1969, Kazuo Okada established Universal Entertainment, a company that produces and distributes casino equipment and pachinko machines. The company, formerly known as Aruze Corporation, is publicly traded on the JASDAQ exchange in Tokyo.

Okada Manila, a casino and resort in the Philippines, is owned and operated by Universal Entertainment. In October 2021, Universal Entertainment announced that it would merge Okada Manila with 26 Capital Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company that is listed on NASDAQ.

Kazuo Okada, Universal Entertainment, $1.4 billion.

Rank: 2057 – Hajime Satomi – chairman of Sega Sammy – $1.3 billion

Hajime Satomi founded Sammy, a pachinko machine manufacturer, and acquired Sega in 2004 to expand into the video game business, forming Sega Sammy. He currently serves as the chairman of the company. Satomi’s son, Haruki, is the president and CEO of the firm. Sega Sammy has a 45% stake in the South Korean entertainment and gambling resort Paradise City. Satomi is also an accomplished racehorse owner and ranks among the top owners of thoroughbred horses.

Hajime Satomi, Sega Sammy, $1.3 billion.

Rank: 2095 – Lawrence Ho – Melco Resorts – $1.3 billion

Lawrence Ho is the controlling shareholder of Melco Resorts, a casino operator listed on Nasdaq, through his control of Melco International Development, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

His partnership with Australian billionaire James Packer, Melco Crown, ended in 2017 after developing four casinos. Melco Resorts operates three casino resorts in Macau, as well as the Mocha chain of slot machine clubs and City of Dreams Manila. Ho transitioned from investment banking to gaming in 2003, operating under the license of his late father, the casino mogul Stanley Ho, before Melco was awarded a license in 2006.

Lawrence Ho, Melco Resorts, $1.3 billion.

Rank: 2393 – Masayuki Ishihara – Heiwa (pachinko machine maker) – $1 billion

Masayuki Ishihara derives his wealth from Heiwa, a pachinko machine manufacturer listed on the Tokyo stock exchange. Although he is not involved in the management of the company, Ishihara founded another pachinko company called Olympia, which Heiwa acquired through a stock swap in 2007. In addition to pachinko, Heiwa’s subsidiary PGM is one of the largest golf course operators in Japan.

Heiwa (pachinko machine maker), $1 billion.

Rank: 2397 – Hideyuki Busujima – son of Sankyo founder (pachinko machine maker) – $1 billion

Hideyuki Busujima is the chairman and former CEO of Sankyo, a publicly traded pachinko machine maker founded by his late father Kunio Busujima. Kunio transferred his shares to Hideyuki in 2014.

In 2020, Hideyuki sold 20 million shares back to the company, which cancelled them. In April 2022, Hideyuki resigned from his position as CEO of Sankyo.

Hideyuki Busujima, son of Sankyo founder, $1 billion.

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