In 1996 Teddy Sagi, a 25-year-old Israeli entrepreneur, was convicted of insider trading. The sentence was nine months in prison. Upon his release, the former prisoner turned his attention to the fledgling online casino and betting industry. Unlike many others, Teddy Sagi looked deeper; he started to create not just his own gambling site, but a platform on the basis of which operators could create their own sites. The development started in 1999. Estonian programmers from Tartu were the core of the developers. The platform was named Playtech.
In 1996 Teddy Sagi, a 25-year-old Israeli entrepreneur, was convicted of insider trading. The sentence was nine months in prison. Upon his release, the former prisoner turned his attention to the fledgling online casino and betting industry. Unlike many others, Teddy Sagi looked deeper; he started to create not just his own gambling site, but a platform on the basis of which operators could create their own sites. The development started in 1999. Estonian programmers from Tartu, were the core of the developers. The platform was named Playtech.
In a short time Playtech has become one of the leading software developers for gambling industry providing technological solutions for online casinos, sports betting, poker, bingo, lotteries and many other segments. On its platform, Playtech opened both its own casinos and betting shops and allowed third-party operators to do so for a % of turnover.
For about all the noughties, Playtech was one of the world leaders in this field. Even the federal law UIEGA, passed in 2006 in the United States, shook Playtech position for a relatively short time. Remarkably, this happened immediately after the company’s IPO. Having banned sites on its platform from accepting players from the USA, Playtech was one of the first to refocus on other markets. Starting in 2016. Teddy Sagi stepped away from the operational management of Playtech, selling most of his shares and investing in various technology startups. But it was Playtech that created the foundation of his fortune.
Playtech relied solely on the strength of its developers only at the beginning of its journey. Later on, as profits came in, it was reinvested in the purchase of other gambling software manufacturers and their integration into Playtech. It should be noted that such M&A were highly aggressive and often crossed the boundaries of business ethics. Teddy Sagi himself is known as an ultra-aggressive and ruthless entrepreneur to competitors. At the same time, he is not very ceremonious with his own partners either.
Although Teddy Sagi is famous for saying that in order to become a billionaire, you first have to make your team members millionaires, in practice things were somewhat different. Teddy Sagi turned a number of his partners into his employees after various kinds of legal tricks and harsh pressure.
In his biography there was also a scandal with the famous British operator William Hill. There were rumors that Playtech did not give William Hill full access to statistics and simultaneously negotiated with competitors. There were, and more than once, problems with their own shareholders when Playtech “bought” from Teddy Sagi personally owned companies at an obviously inflated price. For example, a company where affiliate programs (under different names) were concentrated, which provided services with brands on Playtech software. The purchase decision was also made by Teddy Sagi, but already as the main shareholder and head of Playtech.
Sometimes affiliates also “got in” when one brand on Playtech software “sold” to another brand on Playtech software. At the “sale” the players were cut off from the affiliates, although some one-time compensation was paid to the affs. Naturally, both the “seller” company and the “buyer” company, were affiliates of Playtech.
Also Teddy Sagi actively invested in financial gambling (the most aggressive form of gambling). In 2006 he founded Market (.)com, a financial casino for trading Forex and CFDs (contracts for difference). In 2015, when regulators around the world began to crack down on financial gambling operators, Teddy Sagi “sold” the toxic resource to Playtech, receiving de facto money for it from the pockets of minority shareholders. At the moment, Teddy Sagi is one of Israel richest businessmen, with a fortune of $5.6 billion. Yael Nizri (Miss Israel) and supermodel Bar Refaeli (who left Leonardo DiCaprio) fought for his heart.
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