Game Changers: 5 Visionary Gaming Tycoons in Forbes’ World Billionaires 2023 List 

In 2023, the emergence of technologies such as blockchain, AI-powered chatbots, and virtual reality enticed millions of new online gamers. The iGaming industry expanded significantly, entering new markets and adopting new technologies.

May 20, 2023 | By LUXUO

In recent years, the gaming business has seen incredible development and innovation, bringing cloud gaming, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, giving players a variety of experiences. It has evolved into more than just entertainment, promoting social transformation and economic progress. Online gaming has been transformed, providing gamers with increased convenience, innovation, control, diversity, and security. 

In 2023, the emergence of technologies such as blockchain, AI-powered chatbots, and virtual reality enticed millions of new online gamers. The iGaming industry expanded significantly, entering new markets and adopting new technologies. According to Paysafe Insights, the global iGaming industry will grow by 15% by 2023, hitting $75 billion. The adoption of new technologies and the growth of markets fueled this expansion. Platforms like have also played a significant part in providing gamers with low-cost gaming options. According to Forbes, the top five visionary gaming tycoons on the planet are listed below. 

1.Lui Che Woo

  • Age: 92 
  • Residence: Hong Kong 
  • Co-founder and Board Member: Galaxy Entertainment Group 
  • Net Worth: $14.2 billion 
  • Ownership Stake: 50.4% stake in Galaxy Entertainment Group 
  • Other Assets: K, Wah Group – a diversified conglomerate with interests in property development, hospitality, and entertainment 

Founder of Galaxy Entertainment Group 
Hong Kong billionaire businessman, philanthropist, and founder-chairman of one of Asia’s leading casino operators. Woo has over 50 years of experience in various industries, including construction materials, property development, and hospitality.  

Transformed Macau into the “Las Vegas of the East” 
Woo entered Macau’s gaming market in 2002, and by 2011 opened the Galaxy Macau casino and hotel. Featuring over 2,000 rooms, 50 restaurants, 450 gambling tables, an artificial beach, and a wave pool turned it into one of Hong Kong’s key entertainment highlights. Galaxy Macau transformed Macau into the “Las Vegas of the East” by creating a vibrant and diverse destination that appeals to a wide variety of visitors. 

Developed world-class resorts and casinos 
The Galaxy Entertainment Group are one of six gaming concessionaires in Macau. GEG’s world-class resort offers visitors a wide variety of entertainment, leisure, and travel experiences. It is the city’s first Asian-centric, fully integrated resort, featuring luxury hotels, dining, shopping, shows, and Macau’s largest sky-top water park. 

Attracted high-profile clientele from around the globe 

A rich cultural heritage, vibrant nightlife, diverse culinary scene, plus its massive range of gaming options catering to vastly varied preferences and budgets turned Macau into a world-class destination for high-profile clientele who seek luxury, entertainment, and excitement. 

2.Johann Graf

  • Age: 76 
  • Residence: Vienna, Austria 
  • Co-founder and Board Member: Novomatic Group 
  • Net Worth: $7.3 billion 
  • Ownership Stake: 100% of Novomatic Group 
  • Other Assets: Vintage car collection, mostly Jaguars

Founder of Novomatic Group 
Graf, founder of Novomatic Group, established the company in 1980, it remains one of the leading lights of the gaming industry. 

Introduced innovative gaming solutions 
Novomatic’s accomplishments include online and mobile platforms, lottery systems, sports betting, high-quality graphics & sound, and touch screen technology. 

Developed cutting-edge software and gaming machines 
Novomatic has been developing innovative technologies for over 40 years. Some of the newly developed technologies include NOVOMATIC Biometric Systems (NBS), NOVOMATIC Media Technologies (NMT), NOVOMATIC Interactive, NOVOMATIC Lottery Solutions (NLS), and NOVOMATIC Sports Betting Solutions (NSBS). 

Captivated players worldwide with their technology-driven approach 
Acquiring a controlling stake in London based Greentube Studio in 2010 allows Novomatic to publish its slot games online. Now a global leader in gaming technology with a presence in around 50 countries, in 2022 it boasts an approximated turnover of 2.9 billion euro. With its cutting-edge technology and customer-oriented strategy Novomatic aims to create value for its partners and customers, as well as for society, and the environment. 

3.Denise Coates

  • Age: 55 
  • Residence: Stoke-on-Trent, UK 
  • Co-founder and Board Member: Bet365 
  • Net Worth: $7.1 billion 
  • Ownership Stake: 50% of Bet365 
  • Other Assets: Majority stake in Stoke City Football Club 

CEO of Bet365 
British billionaire businesswoman, Denise Coates, co-founded and co-leads Bet365, one of the world’s largest online gambling companies. With a newly minted degree in econometrics from the University of Sheffield Coates started her career as an accountant in her family’s betting shops. With a loan from RBS, Coates bought the domain name in 2000, followed in 2001 with the launch the brand’s website. After selling all main-street betting shops to Coral in 2005, Coates moved the company headquarters to Gibraltar in 2015. Coates distinguished herself as one of the highest paid executives in Britain and majority owner of Stoke City Football Club. 

Pioneered online gambling platforms 
Bet365 established itself as a pioneer in the world of sports betting platforms after becoming first UK based bookmaker to accept sports wagers from all over the world. It also pioneered the use of in-play betting, live streaming, and cash out features which significantly enhanced the online sports betting experience for millions of bettors.  

Leveraged technology to disrupt the traditional gambling landscape 
According to a case study by Erlang Solutions, Bet 365 adopted Erlang in 2011 to improve the scalability and performance of their InPlay betting platform. This allowed the company to develop highly innovative features such as Cash-Out, and InPlay. In addition, Bet365 adopted HTML5 to create a consistent and portable user interface compatible across a variety of different devices, while also supporting native gestures and functions. 

Established Bet365 as a global leader in the online gaming market 
The combined effects of InPlay betting, CashOut, and the consistent decisions of a cohesive, well-informed, strong leadership turned Bet365 into the massive tale of victory and success for which it is recognised across the world today. 

4.Teddy Sagi

  • Age: 51 
  • Residence: London, UK & Cyprus, Greece 
  • Co-founder and Board Member: Playtech 
  • Net Worth: $5.6 billion 
  • Ownership Stake: 0% – sold last remaining shares in November 2018 to re-focus on real-estate investment 
  • Other Assets: Kape Technologies, Express VPN, owner of London’s Camden Market, with vested interests in various other real estate properties 

Founder of Playtech 
Israeli billionaire businessman, Teddy Sagi, co-founded Playtech in 1999, the company currently trades on the London Stock Exchange and is an established leading provider of online gaming software & services. Sagi also founded and owns Kape Technologies, a cybersecurity company that owns ExpressVPN. Despite retiring from duties as Playtech chairman, he still is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the global gaming industry. 

Leading software provider for the online gaming industry 
Playtech became a leading software provider due to its innovative, high-quality products. It offers a wide range of solutions for online casinos, sports betting, poker, bingo, and lottery supported by a strong reputation for reliability, security, and customer service. Playtech’s success is partially based on its ability to speedily adapt to the fast-changing needs and preferences of a fickle gaming market. 

Introduced innovative software solutions 
A lengthy list of impressive innovations allowed Playtech to establish itself as a globally recognised provider of online gaming and sports betting software solutions. Its comprehensive portfolio of omni-channel content can be adapted to the needs of each client, some of their innovative solutions include, Playtech ONE, Playtech Protect, Playtech B2B Services, and Games Marketplace

Powered numerous online casinos and gaming platforms 
As one of the foremost online casino software providers Playtech powers numerous popular, reputable online casinos and gaming platforms. Their client list includes top-tier casino brands such as Wild Fortune, Slots Magic, CasiQo Casino, and The ClubHouse. Their casino clients are recognised for offering a wide range of games, including slots, table games, live dealer games, and progressive jackpots. The company’s casino partners are well-known for high-quality graphics, innovative features, and an exceptionally secure gaming environment. 

5.Gabe Newell

  • Age: 59 
  • Residence: Seattle, Washington, US 
  • Co-founder and Board Member: Valve Corporation 
  • Net Worth: $6.4 billion 
  • Ownership Stake: 50% of Valve Corporation 
  • Other Assets: yacht, private jet 

Co-founder and managing director of Valve Corporation 
Aside from accumulating a veritable fortune and fame as co-founder and president of Valve, Newell was born in Colorado and grew up in California. He dropped out of Harvard University to join Microsoft, where he worked on the Windows operating system for 13 years. He left Microsoft in 1996 with Mike Harrington to start Valve, a highly successful video game company that created numerous popular titles such as Half-Life and Portal. Valve also boasts with having developing Steam, by far the online gaming world’s largest digital gaming distribution network and online player platform for digital games. Newell’s series of successful endeavours turned him into one of the richest people in the video games industry today. 

Revolutionized game distribution with the Steam platform 
Valve revolutionised game distribution with the introduction of their Steam platform. It created a digital marketplace that offers a wide range of games, features, and services. Steam allows its user-members to buy, download, update, and play games online. Moreover, it offers members easy access to social and community functions. Steam also provides developers with the necessary tools and support to publish and monetise their games on the platform. 

Developed the Source engine for iconic and immersive games 
Valve, ironically but rather accurately, called its innovative games development software the “Source” engine. Its main aim was to support realistic physics, dynamic lighting, high-quality audio, and modularity. Since, Source allowed its creative team to develop highly popular games such as Half-Life 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. 

Spearheaded virtual reality (VR) technology with the Valve Index headset 
Valve established its leadership in virtual reality (VR) technology with the development and successful launch of its Valve Index headset. Remarkably, even with its very first VR headset, Valve managed to offer high-quality VR experiences with advanced features such as high-resolution displays, wide field of views, and finger-tracking controllers. The Index headset is compatible with a surprisingly respectful variety of VR games and applications, it showcases Valve’s innovation and vision for the future of the Virtual world of Reality. 


  1. How has the success of these gaming tycoons impacted the gaming industry? 

 This group of remarkable individuals created an even more impressive line-up of innovative solutions that forever changed their respective industries from both production and player perspectives. They each leave their own indelible mark of improvement in technologies such as sound, visuals, immersion, convenience and so much more. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that their vision cleared the path for others to continue building on these bases for many years to come. 

  1. What sets these gaming tycoons apart from others in the industry? 

In the company of truly great people, it is exceedingly tough for any individual to stand and shoulders above their brilliant peers. Each individual succeeded in doing so quite well in each of the five instances highlighted in our article above, that is enough to set them apart from their inordinately talented group of peers. In all instances they will be remembered for having forever improved the lives of a great number of people around the globe. 

  1. How have these gaming tycoons contributed to the overall growth of the gaming market? 

Their respectively brilliant innovations in product, software, and customer experience will forever be of great benefit to millions of businesses and customers across the world.   

With their innovations in the fields of technology and experience these tycoons expanded the appeal of their respective markets to not only reach a far greater audience, but also deliver a greatly improved product or service. Across the annals of modern history both are proven drivers that brought major change to global markets. 


The Visionary Gaming Tycoons included in Forbes’ World Billionaires 2023 List contribute to the world today by creating innovative and immersive experiences for millions of peoples around the globe. Furthermore, they freely employ their wealth and influence to support a huge variety of causes to bring great improvement to unrelated fields, such as education, environment, health, and social justice. 

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