Arguably the UK’s most notorious sports bettor, Tony Bloom, is the owner of Starlizard, a company that describes itself as a betting consultancy.
Based out of Camden, London, Starlizard is also the sole adviser for Bloom’s betting syndicate, who every weekend have £1 million riding on any given football game.
This makes Starlizard the biggest betting syndicate in Britain and it is believed they make roughly £100 million a year, but that would be an average year.
Due to the secrecy surrounding the company, little is known about their total earnings, although it’s quite safe to assume it’s in the billions of pounds.
Starlizard’s 160 employees use complex statistical models to generate football odds that are more accurate than those offered by bookmakers. They even take into account the weather forecast and the overall morale of a team!
These ‘sharper’ odds are then sold to their clients so they themselves can beat the market! His much respected advice generates £13.8 million annually from customers.
Starlizard’s employees sign strict non-disclosure agreements upon joining the company and once they have worked past their ‘probation period’ they are invited to a free stake in Bloom’s syndicate a.k.a. The Golden Ticket!
If his bets are successful, Starlizard’s employees can earn payouts ranging from £100 to £500,000, but if they are not, the pot of which they draw from must be topped up out of their own pockets.
A former staff member who endured a long tenure with Starlizard only recounted one significant period of losses, but across the year they always came out on top.
According to another former employee, you can quite easily make £10,000 every six months.
It’s quite a stunning record the Brighton & Hove Albion Football club owner has acquired over time considering the associated risk of betting, but it didn’t start out that way for Bloom.
Gambling was in his blood from the age of eight, where he would use his pocket money on the fruit machines in the arcade.
This continued on to his teenage years, growing up in a rural boarding school, thirty minutes from the nearest town.
Whenever he go the chance to go into town, he’d use a fake ID and place a few bets at the meager age of 15 (three years below the legal UK betting age)!
Now at university, Bloom studied mathematics in Manchester, whilst, of course, being a hopeless gambler on the side.
He thought he was strategic, but he was essentially guessing.
Years later, he realised that if he wanted his hobby to turn into something profitable, he would need to do it properly and form a strategy.
Working as an accountant at Ernst & Young, he started formulating this strategy, taking his sports betting bankroll to £20,000.
He then moved on to becoming an options trader for a mere six months, until he finally decided life as a professional sports bettor was the path for him!
Here was the birth of Starlizard, generating odds internally to identify value bets.
In other words, highlighting instances where bookmakers have under or overestimated the odds on a market. Bloom specialises in Asian Handicap betting, where he looks to exploit inaccurate lines on football matches.
It’s impossible to know how much Bloom stakes on his bets and his overall returns, but it’s quite easy to say it’s at least in the hundreds of millions every year.
According to former employees, Starlizard’s syndicate are looking for a return of 1% to 3%, which means they’re turning over ridiculous sums of money.
To make £100 million on a 3% margin the syndicate would have to be wagering £3.3 billion!
With this sort of money floating around on any given weekend, Bloom has a great effect on the market, highlighting the importance of secrecy within his business.
When Bloom’s betting career was in its infancy, he was employed by bookmaker, Victor Chandler, nowadays known as BetVictor.
This is where Bloom risked it all on one bet, the 1998 World Cup Final between France & Brazil.
He was so sure that France would win that he convinced Chandler’s management to put all of their winnings to date on the French!
And well, the rest is history, as France lifted the cup in a 3-0 rout over the Brazilians, a pivotal point in Bloom’s life.
Although no one knows how much Bloom and his associates walked away with that day, it’s safe to say that it was a big pay day!
For the sake of Brighton FC fans, they’ll be praying that his incredible sports betting career continues.
It has been reported that the Englishmen has invested over £360 million into the club during the last decade!
This approach seems to be working considering the club have avoided relegation since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2017.
The Lizard has also dabbled in the world of poker, mostly in the early 2000’s, where he won a total $3.3 million in various tournaments.
This is where he earned the nickname, ‘The Lizard’, for his cold-blooded and ice-cool decisions at the table.
He’s also accredited a lot of his life success to the lessons poker has taught him.
“Poker gives you a good grounding in lots of things, including reading situations and reading people and making tough decisions. Those skills can be used in business and certainly in running a football club,” he said.
Although Bloom is said to be a billionaire, all the money and fame hasn’t got to his head if you ask any of his employees.
They describe him as a nice man, who doesn’t flaunt his wealth by driving around in a Ferrari, choosing to live a more private life with his Australian-born wife and his son.
He doesn’t mind a party though, his employees describing some events as ‘obscene’!
Bloom will regularly book out exclusive clubs and bars in London for his staff, and there’s always the option to check out a Premier League game at any time!
Check out our other articles in the 10 People Who Got Rich On Sports Betting series:
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