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p29-31 victor chandler 29/10/08 13:18 Page 29
Victor Chandler
It's a name synonymous with bookmaking, and the Victor Chandler
brand has extended to become respected and recognised worldwide
as an online sports book and much more. Victor Chandler, the man
behind the name, took the time to speak to Casino International at
his office in Gibraltar.
he Victor Chandler brand is well known in we've been successful or extremely successful in some
UK High Streets as a bookmaker, but territories, and had problems in those territories. As a
internationally the brand is something else result we've never had a smooth line on the graph
again, an online betting brand that's setting going up.
the pace in its industry in many ways. Our biggest success historically was Korea, which
Victor met with Casino International recently to lasted just over a year. We had a licence there – or we
discuss the business and its similarities to land-based thought we had a licence with a partner. We were the
operations, and much more besides. operators for a company that had obtained a licence
which was a subsidiary of a big Korean company. That
grew at an amazing rate, from nothing to thousands
Casino International: You're the third- of customers coming to the site daily and playing
generation in the family business, is that right? everything. We were then shut down by the
Victor Chandler: Actually, I'm the fourth; my authorities who claimed that the licence was
great-grandfather was also a bookmaker, but I can't invalid… It's not all been easy.
find many details about him. He was a street Hong Kong was a huge territory for us, we had
boookmaker in London's East End – Hoxton, offices there with 70 or 80 people working for us -
actually. So really there's four generations of then when the Jockey Club got the exclusive licence
bookmaking. The company has only been in existence we had to close down. It's a bumpy ride; the growth
for 60 years, because my grandfather's company was hasn't been smooth but it's held up because we've
taken over by my uncle's, and that failed in the late gone into other territories.
1940s, early 1950s. My father then went into business When things like that happen, you just move on.
on his own. Despite all of us being in the same There's no use crying about it.
business, it's not exactly a straight line.
CI: Has that kind of thing resulted in
CI: What's the core of the Victor Chandler significant losses for you or have you usually had
business now? time to recoup your investment?
VC: Clients. That's what we're all about. VC: We had a long time of good times in Hong
Kong, so that was certainly profitable; Korea was
CI: Define a client for us… profitable after six weeks. We got our investment back
VC: The best sort of client is one that bets on after five weeks and were in profit after six. We were
sports and plays the online casino and poker. fairly lucky with that.
CI: So you offer a full service package for an CI: Many companies struggle, especially when
online gambler under the Victor Chandler name. trying to break into Asian markets, because they
Within that, what are you most recognised for assume either an English-language product will
with your players? work, or they simply translate their product
VC: Sports betting, especially within the UK. Our without paying attention to cultural differences.
players are mainly high-end still, our stake per bet is How do you approach different, new markets?
probably higher than the majority of our competitors. VC: You take a partner. That's what we've always
done. After our initial mistakes, which were what
CI: How long have you been taking bets online? you've mentioned, we have taken partners.
VC: Seven years. The benefits are that they understand the culture
and how to market their own territories, and how to
CI: What's the growth been like over those deal with the authorities, importantly.
VC: Very good. I mean, it's been patchy in that CI: So how do you recognise those new markets?
NOVEMBER 2008 29
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