BetVictor Bookmakers

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Victor Chandler Bookmakers, now known as BetVictor, is an established, extremely well respected independent UK gambling operation turning over in excess of £1 billion per annum. They have well over half a million clients who are based in more than 150 countries and are licensed in both the UK and Gibraltar.

Claims of having a pioneering spirit which has spanned more than sixty years of bookmaking are not unfounded at Victor Chandler. Their speed to recognise the potential of the online market resulted in a shift away from retail premises and the development of a sophisticated and comprehensive online offering which provides punters with plenty of sporting markets as well as casino and poker, politics, entertainments and a wide range of financials.

The very beginning was the opening of Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium by Victor Chandler's bookmaker grandfather, William, in 1925. Victor Chandler's father, also called Victor, founded the business in 1946. As soon as betting shops were made legal in the 1960s, Victor Chandler senior started acquiring premises in the south east of England.

Victor Chandler, as we know him, took up the reins of the bookmakers business in 1975. He was more entrepreneurial than his forefathers and was quick to recognise the potential of online betting. He also heralded the onset of a substantial expansion of the business through a variety of new ventures including exploiting the potential of foreign markets.

From the early 1990s, football bets from far eastern clients were accepted by BetVictor bookmakers. An office was opened in Antigua to enable those clients to place their wagers, unhindered by the 9% UK betting tax. In 1996, Chandler succeeded in obtaining a betting licence in Gibraltar.

Punters across Britain have one thing to thank BetVictor for. When, in 1999, he moved his business and his people to a new headquarters in Gibraltar to avoid having to subject punters to UK gambling duty, he started an exodus. It was that exodus that effectively forced the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, to abolish gambling duty on UK shores in 2001.

Today, Bet Victor Bookmakers employs over 350 people in Gibraltar and are one of the largest private employers on the Rock. There are also offices in Macau, Buenos Aires and Kuala Lumpur and gaming sites catering for a multitude of languages.

Bet Victor is certainly a colourful character within the bookmaking industry, and not just because we regularly see his face inserted into archive sporting footage in the company's adverts. He has been described as the antithesis of the conventional vision of a bookmaker - he is more like a gentlemanly chief executive officer. Those descriptions may not have been made by arms-length observers. To us, he looks every inch the egotistical crafty cockney made good in his sharp suits!

In March 2010 when a 'Business Interview' journalist from the Independent requested just that, Chandler suggested it be held over a game of poker, pledging a donation to the Haiti Appeal if the journalist, James Moore, won. He lost but Chandler made the donation anyway.

On January 12, 2012 the bookie was rebranded as BetVictor. It is not the first attempt to rebrand as the firm was known as VCbet for a few years before reverting back. It remains to be seen how long the moniker BetVictor, surely inspired by the success of the rival Betfred and Bet365 brands, is retained. Will Willam Hill be rushing to join the in-crowd and change its name to BetWilliam?

BetVictor was born in Essex, in 1951, destined to become a bookmaker and follow the footsteps of his father, Victor, and grandfather, William, into the trade.

Today, BetVictor doesn't just get involved in the bookmakers' business. He is actively involved in running his stud farm and stables in Sotogrande, Spain, which provide a luxurious home for over 20 horses.

Chandler is passionate about horseracing, giving substantial support to the sport through sponsorship of races. The BetVictor Chase, a Grade 1 contest attracting the UK's top two mile chasers is held at Ascot in January each year. Chandler also owns a number of horses trained not just by the UK's top trainers, but by training talents in the USA and South Africa too. In 2009 his horse, Zaynar, trained by Nicky Henderson, won the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.

He has gone into print to voice his valid concerns about many aspects of horse racing, not least the UK flat racing calendar which he believes is still structured around the social diaries of the aristocracy in the 19th century. When you think about it, he has got a point. If you put a plan together for flat racing now, would you really stage the highlight of the season, the Epsom Derby, in the first third of the racing calendar? Why let the French have the finale (at least for those unprepared to travel to the States for the Breeders Cup) with the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe? He even dares to suggest moving an Ascot festival to the end of the season and making the Derby a race for four year olds.

Bet Victor Bookmakers is heavily involved in UK soccer too, sponsoring Nottingham Forest FC since July 2009.

The character of the proprietor may or may not appeal to you, but the trustworthy BetVictor Bookmakers should be on the shortlist for all punters looking to enjoy sports betting, casino or poker online.