3 Business Tycoons Who Made Money on Gambling

Players flock to land-based casinos and online casinos to play their favorite games, have fun but most importantly win money and lots of it. Most players fail to do this consistently but the individuals that own these land-based and online casinos end up making lots of money consistently.

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Guest author Michael Vestersen (check his profile) takes a look at three business tycoons who made money from the gambling industry.

We look at three big names in the gambling industry that have made billions of dollars with their casinos and significantly enhanced their wealth. We pick two icons from the land-based industry and one from the online betting market.

Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn is the founder and former chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts. He is known as a corporate titan who turned a small bingo parlor into an international powerhouse. Wynn Resorts develops and operates luxury hotels, casinos, and golf resort properties in Las Vegas, Macau, and Mississippi.

Wynn started his gambling business by purchasing a small stake in a small Las Vegas casino, the Frontier Hotel, and Casino. His earnings there allowed him to purchase a controlling interest in the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas in 1971. By the time 1973 came, Wynn was already the majority shareholder and earned his place in the history books as the youngest casino owner in Las Vegas.

Wynn would play a key role in transforming the city’s reputation from a gambling destination to a family-friendly vacation playground. He built The Mirage, Treasure Island, the Bellagio, Beau Rivage, and Wynn Las Vegas, and Wynn Macau.

Wynn has billions of dollars to his name and is considered one of the biggest names in the business even though his reputation was tarnished towards the end of his career due to sexual misconduct allegations with Wynn employees.

Denise Coates

Denise Coates is the British joint chief executive of the online gaming powerhouse Bet365. She is also its founder and majority shareholder. Coates is a graduate of Sheffield University and holds an econometrics degree.

Bet365 began in January 2000, when Coates bought the domain Bet365.com. It began as an online bookmaker and business began to boom following a £15 million from RBS to expand its operations, allowing her to take Bet365 to the next level.

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Bet365 is currently one of the largest betting and gaming providers in the world, raking in $2 billion in revenues, and handling $45 billion in bets each year.

Denise Coates recently made headlines for earning £422 million in 2020, based solely on her salary—50% higher than the salary she received for 2019. She also set up a charitable foundation called the Denise Coates Foundation. She has been a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) since 2012.

Sheldon Adelson 

Sheldon Adelson was gaming, hotel, and newspaper magnate. He founded the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and also served as its chairman and CEO.

Adelson grew up in Dorchester in Boston. He started his first business at just 12 years old, after borrowing $200 from an uncle to get a license to sell newspapers around town. A polarizing figure in the gambling industry (and beyond), Adelson was often called a “serial entrepreneur” by both his detractors and supporters—he built (and lost) dozens of businesses over his lifetime.

Adelson began his adult business career by developing the COMDEX trade show with his partners in 1979. The trade show would be a massive success, especially during the tech boom of the 1980s and 1990s.

He and his partners would later sell the Interface Group Show Division, which covers the COMDEX trade show, to SoftBank for $862 million—Adelson reportedly took home $500 million from the deal.

Adelson used this windfall to finance his first foray into Las Vegas. He purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino in 1988, which he would later raze to make way for The Venetian.

Adelson also had numerous gambling interests in Macau, where he built the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, and Singapore, which is where the Marina Bay Sands is located. He died in January 2021.


Business magnates in the past who wanted to make money via gambling used to focus on land-based casinos. With the boom of the online gambling market, it is possible to start an online casino and have a lot of success today!