Victor Chandler, also known as the “Godfather of Gambling” and “Indiana Jones of Gambling,” was born into a household of gamblers. Chandler, who inherited a bookmaking business from his father, was one of the first bookmakers to move his operation offshore and utilize the internet to expand his business.
To learn more about Victor Chandler and how he was able to turn around his father’s failing business, feel free to read this extensive biography!
The Initial Years
Victor Chandler was born in Essex, England on April 18, 1951. His great-grandfather was a well-known horse racing aficionado. His grandfather was well-known for founding the Walthamstow Stadium dog track in 1933 and the BetVictor betting company in 1946, both of which were highly successful gambling-related businesses. In 1961, his father took advantage of a change in the law and launched a chain of wagering stores throughout England and the United Kingdom, naming them BetVictor. With a passion for wagering in his genes, his family was anxious to see if he would also venture into the gambling industry.
Numerous formative memories of Chandler revolve around wagering. His father frequently took him to the Brighton, Fontwell, and Plumpton horse tracks, where he placed his first wager at the age of eight. He didn’t win his first wager, but he enjoyed betting alongside his father nonetheless. His family’s notion of quality time together, when not at the track, consisted of playing five-card stud poker and seven-card rummy at the supper table, with the victor receiving a couple of British pounds.
Chandler attended Highgate School until he was expelled for the third time in a succession for scaling out a window to avoid class. Fortunately, his father was able to negotiate an arrangement with the Millfield School’s headmaster, who consented to allow Chandler to enroll on the condition that his father would forgive some of his wagering obligations. This was a common strategy employed by Chandler’s father to keep him out of trouble.
Chandler was able to graduate from Millfield School in 1969 despite a number of suspensions and subpar academic performance. He did not immediately pursue a career in wagering. Instead, he relocated to Switzerland so that he could attend the Swiss Hotel Management School and become a caterer. He appreciated the majority of his classes because they were hands-on. Still, he was unable to attend them on a consistent basis, so he was eventually expelled from the program.
His secondary plan was to become a real estate agent in Spain. He received the appropriate training for the position and even sold a few properties for a profit.
Chandler’s future appeared bright until he received a phone call informing him that his father had a particularly aggressive form of cancer. He hurriedly packed his belongings and returned home, where he discovered that his father had passed away.
Succession to the Family Business
At the time, Chandler returned home to care for his mother and two younger sisters who were still in high school. He consented to take over the family enterprise despite its dire financial situation. After approximately two years of reducing expenses and seeking to expand the business, Chandler was prepared to leave.