Examining the brief history of online wagering reveals a number of prominent figures whose fates were less than desirable. Others’ reputations or bank accounts were ruined by a combination of bad luck, poor investments, and self-indulgence. Mark Blandford, however, is among the limited group of men and women who have managed to flourish despite the tempestuous events.
Mark Blandford is the founder and former chairman and chief executive officer of Sportingbet, one of the world’s largest bookmakers, for those who do not regularly follow news about Internet gambling. Many of his contemporaries are either retired, insolvent, or attempting to evade U.S. authorities, whereas he is a self-made millionaire still going strong.
This article provides a biography of Mark Blandford, beginning with his childhood and ending with the most recent information available to the public. Whether you are an avid gambler or an inquisitive passerby, I trust you will discover something of interest.
The Initial Years
Mark Blandford was born in 1957 in Hereford, England. His father was a farmer, and it has been reported that he enjoyed viewing horse races and possibly wagering on them. The young man spent some of his formative years observing bookmakers and attempting to obtain an autograph from jockey-turned-crime-fiction-author Dick Francis.
He attended Hereford Catholic School from 1969 to 1976. Simultaneously, he traded stocks and accepted wagers from colleagues using soccer odds obtained from a bookie’s tip sheet. According to one account, he once accumulated $454 in student wagers before a vigilant teacher discovered him and forced the young entrepreneur to return the money.
From 1976 to 1979, he majored in international marketing at Wolverhampton Polytechnic while studying business. Following graduation, he attempted a variety of occupations, ranging from product marketing to radio.
Entering the Gambling Industry
In the early 1980s, Blandford decided to leave his impact on the world through the wagering industry. His wife kindly provided him with a series of loans, which he used to acquire a small number of UK wagering stores. His initial strategy consisted of purchasing approximately six stores for $30,000 each and then selling them in volume for more than $650,000.
While the above figures may appear profitable, the majority of Blandford’s funds were continually invested in real estate. It was challenging for him to contend with industry titans such as William Hill and Ladbrokes, as his net profits typically fluctuated around 2%.
In order to gain an advantage, he spent a lifetime at the racetrack identifying speculators who consistently beat the odds. He began to spend time with these people and cultivate a relationship with them. It was simple, as both sides shared a common foe: the main wagering chains.
As for the specialists, they were no longer permitted to speculate with the leading bookmakers. Blandford came up with a concept, however, in which he would function as a front for his newfound friends. This enabled him to earn a substantial profit and humiliate his competitors. As he stated in an interview, “It’s a dog-eat-dog business.”