BetVictor is one of the U.K.’s most recognisable gambling companies, particularly in London and the south-east of England where they have maintained an exceptional market share from more than 50 years. Until 2012 BetVictor was predominantly known as the Victor Chandler, besides a brief spell in the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century when they were known as the VCBet; a trading name that was quickly dropped as Victor Chandler himself felt that it removed the bookmakers personal and sophisticated company persona.
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The bookmaker was founded in 1946 shortly after the family relinquished ownership of the now world-famous Walthamstow Stadium, one of the most well-known greyhound racing tracks around. At the time it was Victor’s grandfather, William Chandler, who ran the company. At the time gambling was actually illegal in the United Kingdom and remained so until 1961. By this time Victor’s father, Victor Chandler senior, had taken control of the company and secured many profitable spots at the trackside for the company to secure. These “pitches” became the centre of the business over the course of the next decade, with many believing that the majority of the company’s revenue could be directly traced back to bettors at the trackside.
Sadly, in 1974, Victor Chandler senior passed away. This resulted in the business being inherited by Victor Chandler Jr, who still maintains the position of chairman to this day. At the time Victor Chandler had been working in the travel and tourism sector, predominantly in Spain but had also worked in numerous other countries, with many believing that he spent a brief period in Asia. It was this experience that would eventually dictate the direction that Victor junior would lead the company in. It wasn’t long before Victor Chandler had lost the pictures at trackside at various stadiums across the country, instead preferring to focus his energies and the company’s resources on expanding its client base in eastern Asia, where it had been accepting bets from wealthy businessmen who had a keen interest in a wide variety of sports.
Victor Chandler continue down this route for a number of years, turning the company into one of the largest bookmakers in the United Kingdom. However, with a large portion of Victor Chandler’s clientele being based overseas, Victor Chandler began searching for a way to reduce the company’s tax bill as their ties to the United Kingdom were strongly loose to say the least. This led to Victor Chandler, along with BetFred who also choose to do something similar, becoming pioneers within the industry when they moved their entire business’ offshore to Gibraltar, now widely known as a tax haven for all manner of gambling companies.
Victor Chandler briefly ran a poker tournament which was known as the Victor Chandler Poker Cup, which featured a £250,000 cash prize for the winner. Naturally such a big jackpot attracted some of the biggest names in poker as well as many of the usual celebrities that we see competing in televised poker tournaments. The tournament was only ran in 2004 and 2005, while being televised on Sky Sports 2. Despite relatively strong viewing figures, Sky Sports seemed reluctant to offer Victor Chandler the full seven hours of airtime required to televise the entire event. This eventually resulted in the tournament being counselled.