A True Online Gaming Industry Pioneer

Every industry must have its own pioneers. The auto industry had Henry Ford, the oil industry had John D Rockefeller and the computer and software industry had Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs. In the online gambling and casino sector one of the pioneers has been Fifty-one-year-old Mark Blandford who was a pioneer bookmaker in the UK. Blandford developed his taste for gambling when his father would take him to horse races. Listening to his father and friends Blandford learned there was more money to be made in bookmaking than in betting on horses.

Blandford set up his first betting shop when he was only 27 and soon had a small chain of shops. Blandford learned from a neighbor that the EU was engaged in an e-commerce project. His curiosity was aroused and he searched the keywords “sports betting” and “bookmaking” in a search engine and found few results. Blandford saw an opportunity and jumped on it immediately. In 1998 Blandford set up the online betting site Sportingbet. Blandford believed the industry would thrive if it was regulated. Blandford stated “If it is not legal, you can’t control anything. The underworld doesn’t care if children are involved.”

Sportingbet acquired its American competitors which was then the largest online gambling market in the world. Sportingbet has a market value of $3.1 billion US. In 2006 Sportingbet’s chairman Peter Dicks was arrested in the US thanks to a warrant by a publicity seeking federal prosecutor. After the US passed the ill advised UIGEA Sportingbet was forced to leave the US market.

Blandford was a true pioneer in the online gaming industry. He paved the way for a regulated online gaming market in the UK and the online bingo industry owes Blandford a debt of gratitude. Thanks to his efforts the UK now has the world’s most active online gaming market in the world. The UK also has the largest online bingo market thanks to regulation. British punters enjoy a level of consumer protections not available to players in other countries. Mark Blandford is still in the industry and his influence is still felt.



Jeff Davis

Online Bingo Reviews

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