18 VICTOR CHANDLER
Gambling 2018: £230m New entry
The legendary Victor Chandler is back. Last summer, three years after cashing in his remaining 45% stake in his eponymous gambling operation, he has returned to the fray with Bet Lion — a start-up offering online gambling services in East Africa. “The market is already showing huge growth and smart phone penetration is much higher than many realise. With that has come an excellence in micro-payments,” commented Chandler. The Ugandan Bet Lion operation has already launched, with Tanzanian and Kenyan start-ups said to be imminent. Born in Essex, Chandler was later expelled from Highgate School for repeatedly absconding to go clubbing. He later went to catering school in Switzerland. After some wild years in Spain, he returned to take over the family’s bookmaking business in 1974 when his father died. He knew little of the industry and nearly sold the business early on, but he developed a successful operation by creating a chain of bookies which he sold to larger chains while retaining the freehold on the properties. In 2000 he moved to Gibraltar to escape the UK betting tax. In May 2014 Chandler sold his 45% stake in BetVictor to former bookie Michael Tabor, who already had a 45% stake. No figures were disclosed but there had been previous talk of a £400m sale or float. Cautiously we run with a £350m price. Art, property and investments put Chandler at around £230m.