18 VIC­TOR CHAN­DLER

Essex Life - - RICHEST 50 -

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.

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