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Entrepreneurship in The Gaming and Casino Industry

The Gaming and Casino Industry witnessed a significant decline in the generation of the billionaires amongst the pool of billionaires from 2000 to 2010. The sector was too slow in producing billionaires in the light of emerging industries with new billionaires, though the richest two men of casino industry emerged in the billionaires list during that period.

The share of Gaming and Casino billionaires plummeted from 3.6% to 1.2% in the list of billionaires over a 10 –year period.

Gaming and Casino billionaires have started to re-emerge between 2010 and 2018,  due to a sharp growth in the number of online gaming billionaires and stable increase in casino billionaires both from family businesses such as Fertitta members and also entrepreneurial ventures in gambling related real estate business after a cast off at the end of 2000s.

They outpaced overall growth in the number of billionaires from all industries, today gaming & casino sourced wealthy make up 1.9% of the billionaires list.

The richest person in the gaming and casino industry, Sheldon Adelson, has set quite high entry barriers making it a huge challenge for other billionaires to claim the top spot. His net worth is almost double that of the second-runner up. Adelson owns the famous Marina Bay Sands of Singapore and luxury casino houses in Macau in addition to  Las Vegas gambling venues.

Macau helped create a fellow casino billionaire, again placed well above the others – Hong Kong based Lui Che Woo, who tripled his wealth surpassing USD20bln in the last two years.

Though the top places of the pyramid are seemingly secure, mid-size traditional gambling business stories are transformed by the presence and growth of online players. Korean online gaming billionaire, Kim Jung-Ju nearly quadrupled his wealth - 6.9bln - within three years.

The deep wealth concentration in the industry is the result of risk-taking in a niche area - combining real estate with gambling in specific jurisdictions, where the business is about regulated entertainment monopolies requiring big capital, political connectivity and expertise.

In the beginning of 2010, a flow of  relatively young online gaming billionaires (average age of 48) appeared in the billionaire lists. Inflow of young gaming billionaires consequently brought the average age of the billionaires down almost 15 years and after 2015 it fluctuated around 60 year old mark. Japanese pachinko tycoons were the oldest billionaires followed by casino billionaires around the world.

These billionaires have already placed their succession plans as one can see the number of inherited billionaires has grown continuously. Today, one out of five billionaires operating in the gaming and gambling industry is part of a family business.

Female billionaires are not  well represented, at only 10% overall, which is approximately the same with the global average of all industries.

Our analysis also revealed that 13% of the gaming & gambling billionaires moved to another country to build or protect their fortunes.

Overall, the sub-industry looks like the combination of technology, real estate and manufacturing industries with entertainment industry in the ownership context. It is a key separation point when it comes to the political affinity of the billionaires.

Our previous research showed that the construction and real estate industry is one of the most connected industries to politics, in which complex regulation, culture and land affairs play important roles in setting an ownership culture.

All politically connected billionaires of this industry at a broader sense are owners of casino businesses featuring the mentioned thoughts.  Another angle shows that 36% of casino billionaires are politically connected and that figure places the sub-industry second after the mining and metals ventures.

· Proportion of the Gaming and Casino billionaires have increased since 2010 after initially experiencing a decline;

· US and South Korea are the countries with the most Gaming and Casino billionaires, though Japan topped the list in the 2000s;

· Rise of online gaming billionaires follows an unprecedented pattern, transforming the face of the industry while bringing tech-savvy billionaires to the list;

· Casino billionaires top the wealth pyramid by a huge margin;

· Average age of the billionaires became 15 years younger

· One family business billionaire has emerged every year from 2010 from operating in the Gaming and Casino industry;

· Casino billionaires are more active in politics than their peers;

· Divorce rates of Gaming & Casino billionaires are relatively higher than the global average


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