Industry Reports

Online Gambling Entrepreneur among Canada’s 10 Richest People

Canadian businessman, entrepreneur and co-founder of online poker giant PokerStars, the 44-year-old Mark Scheinberg is among the ten richest people in Canada, according to the 2018 World’s Billionaires List, released by Forbes last week. The annual ranking features 46 Canadians, as well as a record number of 2,208 billionaires around the world.

With a net worth of US$4.8 billion, the Israeli-Canadian businessman Mark Scheinberg is listed as the ninth richest person in Canada which hardly comes as a surprise considering his impressive career so far. Scheinberg was born in Israel but at the age of 13, he moved to Canada with his family. In 2001, the then 28-year-old computer programmer and his father, Isai Scheinberg (a former senior programmer for IBM Canada) founded the online gaming company PokerStars.

With the boom of poker and online poker, in particular, in North America and the world a decade ago, PokerStars became the largest and most successful poker site on the planet. The father and the son were considered one of the pioneers in this lucrative industry. By 2014, Mark Scheinberg was also the CEO and majority shareholder (with 75% interest) of Rational Group Ltd., the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, another popular online cardroom.

On August 1, 2014, the Rational Group and all its assets were acquired by Amaya Gaming Group (known today as the Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group) in a $4.9 billion deal. With the sale, Scheinberg became a millionaire and the richest person on the Isle of Man, where his online poker company was located. He owns 50 per cent in a promising project that envisions the 2019 opening of a luxury hotel, residential and retail complex in Madrid, Spain.

Along with the multi-purpose complex for which he paid €225 million, Mark Scheinberg has invested in multiple projects and according to Forbes, as of March 2018, his wealth has reached US$4.8 billion. This makes him the ninth richest person in Canada and the 422nd wealthiest person in the world, after Chairman of Thomas Reuters David Thomson who is the richest Canadian and comes at number 32 in the global ranking.

Around the world, there are a total of eight billionaires whose major source of income was gambling, online gambling or gambling software related business. The richest one among them is the Austrian owner of the Novomatic Group Johann Graf ($8.1 billion). Co-founder and Joint CEO of Bet365 Denise Coates ($5 billion) is the second-richest person in the world from the gambling industry, followed by former PokerStars owner Mark Scheinberg.

Forbes 2018 World’s Richest People List

Let us start with the Canadian entries on the prestigious ranking for 2018 – there are 44 Canadians featured on the list and they are led by David Thomson and his wealth worth $25 billion. He is followed by vice chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group, Joseph Tsai ($9.7 billion), Selfridges Group owner Galen Weston ($9.5 billion), and the two businessmen James Irving ($8.3 billion) and Jim Pattison ($6.9 billion).

The “Professor Billionaire” David Cheriton comes sixth with a net worth of $6 billion, followed by dairy industry pioneer Emanuele (Lino) Saputo ($5.3 billion) and Uber chairman and co-founder Garrett Camp ($4.8 billion), who at his age of 39 is also the youngest Canadian billionaire in the top 10. The ranking rounds up with Scheinberg ($4.8 billion) at the ninth place and Peter Gilgan ($3.8 billion) on the tenth spot.

According to Forbes, there are 2,028 billionaires in the world, worth together $9.1 trillion, record-setting figures that show an upsetting trend, which continues for several years now. The gap between the superrich and everyone else is widening considering the average wealth of the billionaires in 2018 record high at $4.1 billion. Interestingly, 67 per cent of all entries on the list are self-made, which means they did not inherit their money and assets but earned them on their own.

Among the self-made billionaires is the richest man in the world, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos with a net worth of $112 billion. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates comes second with $90 billion, followed by Warren Buffet and his $84 billion. The top 10 ranking also features Bernard Arnault ($72 billion), Mark Zuckerberg ($71 billion), Amancio Ortega ($70 billion), Carlos Slim Helu ($67.1 billion), Charles Koch ($60 billion) and David Koch ($60 billion), and Larry Ellison ($58.5 billion).