Britain’s ‘Rich List’ Crowns Gambling Industry’s Wealthiest Royalty

Posted on: May 8, 2017, 10:49h. 

Last updated on: May 8, 2017, 10:55h.

The latest edition of the UK’s ‘Rich List,’ published annually by the Sunday Times, shows the combined wealth of Britain’s gambling industry high rollers has grown by almost 20 percent over the past 12 months.

David and Simon Reuben Sunday Times Rich List UK
Publicity shy multibillionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, the third-richest people in Britain and 60th in the world, according to the UK’s Sunday Times ‘Rich List’ for 2017. They own Arena Racing Company, which operates 15 of Britain’s racecourses. (Image: Alchetron)

The yearly index of the Her Majesty’s most moneyed subjects shows that the five gambling industry billionaires and 15 multimillionaires who made this year’s list have seen their collective wealth grow by almost £3 billion ($3.88 billion) to £19 billion ($25 billion). In fact, all but two saw an increase in wealth, unlike Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth, who slipped out of the top 300 for the first time ever (not that she’s in any danger of eating nothing but porridge).

Topping the UK’s gaming tycoon set are brothers David and Simon Reuben, who saw their net worth rise by $900 million ($1.6 billion) to $14 billion ($18 billion) last year, making them the third-richest pair in their county. The notoriously private brothers own Arena Racing Company, which operates 15 of Britain’s race tracks.

The majority of the brothers’ fortune was acquired not from their thoroughbreds, however. The property market and trading aluminum in Russia, along with investments in airports, hotels, technology, and banking, was their ticket to extreme wealth.

Family Betting Billionaires

The first of the billionaires on the list to make their fortunes entirely in the gambling sector are the owners of Bet365 and Stoke City soccer club: siblings Denise and John Coates, along with their father, Peter Coates. According to The Times, the family’s pecuniary aggregation has increased over the past year from £3.8 billion ($4.9 billion) to £5 billion ($6.7 billion), vaulting them from 24th position last year to 22nd in 2017.

In 2015-2016, Bet365 handled $37 billion-worth of bets, the equivalent, according to the Racing Post, of the entire GDP of Slovenia. This generated gross gaming revenue of £1.6 billion ($2 billion) for the company and earnings of £459.6 million ($594 million).

Buy Low, Sell High

Next up is PokerStars co-founder and former CEO Mark Scheinberg (32nd), who, along with his father Isai Scheinberg, sold the online poker giant to Amaya for $4.9 billion in 2014. Scheinberg the younger has now moved into property, according to the Times, and saw his net worth increase £828 million to just under £3.7 billion.

Other notables include Betfred founders Fred and Peter Done (£1.3 billion for 37th) and PartyGaming founders Ruth Parasol and ex-husband Russ DeLeon (£720 million for 180th).

One notable omission this year is Teddy Sagi, founder of Playtech, estimated by Forbes in March to be worth some 3.6 billion. Playtech is based in the UK and is listed on the London Stock Exchange, but its Israeli founder is understood to spend most of his time in Cyprus now, and consequently may no longer be quite British enough for the Sunday Times.