The success of online gambling companies in recent years is staggering. It’s hard to look at business news without seeing another massive takeover, astronomical revenue growth, or new technology rocking the casino world. The idea of building an online betting empire 20+ years ago, however, was not on many people’s minds; with the exception of Andrew Black.
This gambling entrepreneur started a unique and unparalleled concept in the online gambling industry years before it would be on the market’s radar. Some call him a mastermind. Others, a visionary. So, what is the story of Andrew Black, Betfair, and his other business ventures? And more importantly, how much is he worth in 2021?
Who is Andrew Black?
Hailing from the United Kingdom, a graduate of King’s College in London and Exeter University, Andrew Wilson Black is perhaps most well known as the co-founder of Betfair.com, a revolutionary sports betting market that has become the leading bookmaker since its founding.
Andrew Black came from a family that was outspoken in its anti-gambling views. His father, a former MP (member of Parliament) publicly campaigned for stricter gambling laws and against all gambling-related activity. Perhaps it was this vehemence that sparked Andrew’s young interest in the pastime.
A Lifelong Gambler
Throughout his life, Andrew Black was a lover of bridge and horse racing — more specifically, betting on bridge and horse racing. His skills at accurately predicting the outcomes of races gained him notoriety and reportedly won him £25,000 with a stake of just £20 in 1992 when he correctly guessed the winners of 2 major races in the UK.
Between multiple careers, ventures, and thankless jobs, Black was able to continue honing and developing his skills as a bettor. Though his life was full of ups and downs, Black persevered and stuck to his passion.
Business Start-ups Galore
Andrew Black founded BrandProject.com, a company creation studio that builds, buys, and makes seed-stage investments to get businesses off the ground. Brand Project has kickstarted a host of well-known start-up companies including Awake Chocolate, BRIKA, Surf easy, The Coveteur, and Rumble, and Hello.
Black has helped launch more than 100 new products and services for high-profile companies such as Virgin, Nike, Cadbury Schweppes, LEGO, and Colgate Palmolive. He previously served as President Americas for LEGO, General Manager for the US Equipment Business at Nike Inc., and VP Marketing-North America at Cadbury Schweppes/DrPepper7UP.
If that wasn’t enough Black additionally founded Blackpoynt Brand Ventures and co-founded Virgin Mobile Canada with Sir Richard Branson in 2004. Andrew Black is also a non-executive, independent director of Hydrodec Group Plc., since June 23, 2011.
Betfair: The World’s Largest Betting Exchange
Despite his extensive resume of start-ups, launches, and foundings, Andrew Black is perhaps most well-known for co-founding Betfair.com, the world’s largest online betting exchange. The concept of operating online casinos through a virtual network may have seemed like science fiction back in the 90s but Black was savvy enough to see the reality and its potential.
The concept behind Betfair is a clever, unique, and arguably revolutionary one. Combining his passion and depth of knowledge of gambling with financial transactions similar to the stock exchange, Black invented a new way of conducting online betting.
A Betting Stock Exchange
Co-founded by Andrew Black and Edward Wray in 2000, Betfair was not the only betting exchange launched at that time. The other exchanges, however, operated on the model of single bets being accepted on an individual basis by interested punters.
In contrast, Betfair operated more like a financial exchange, allowing multiple small bets to fill a position offered by a gambler wishing to place a large stake on a wager. This approach, along with the takeover of the competing company, Flutter, in 2001, guaranteed Betfair 90% of the bet exchange market in the UK within a few years of its launch.
The Secret To Success
While some might conflate the boundless growth of a betting company with the good luck of a lifelong gambler, Betfair’s success is no coincidence and stems from years and years of hard work on creating a well-crafted formula. Betfair was novel in its conception and remains a
As a lifelong avid gambler, Andrew Black has known his share of losses and financial stress throughout the years. Perhaps this is why he has made a point of giving so much back to others who are just starting out in business. If he sees someone with a good idea, he wants to support it and has often been called an “angel investor” by those who have benefitted from his personal and corporate largesse.
How much is he worth?
As of this year, Andrew Black’s net worth is estimated to be around (or upwards of) $500 million. Betfair has been acquired by new owners but continues to expand into new areas of sports betting and thrive as one of the foremost betting exchanges in the world.
Andrew Black continues to play bridge professionally, support new businesses, and invest in burgeoning technology in the UK.