At the age of 59, Mike Ashley is ranked among the wealthiest people in the UK. As of 2023, his net worth is estimated at around $5bn, a staggering feat reflecting decades of clever investments and careful planning. Having begun his entrepreneurial ventures at 18, Mike Ashely’s portfolio has included ownership and partnership with some of the sport’s largest and most well-known companies.
Despite amassing a significant fortune through shrewd business dealings, Ashley continues to invest wisely, with a rumored takeover of League One football club Reading FC on the cards and purchasing cricket ground Headingley.
Luxury Interests and Leisure Time
Ashley’s love of sports carries over into his leisure time. He is a keen skier and enjoys horse racing, having diversified his portfolio by owning several prestigious racehorses. He also owns several homes in luxurious locations worldwide and loves vehicles; his garage boasts Aston Martins and Bentleys and a helicopter worth over £5m.
He also relishes a visit to a casino. He has recorded significant wins, his most notable in 2012 when he won almost £1.3m on one spin of a roulette wheel in an esteemed casino in Mayfair, London. Ashley won by placing what is known in casinos as a ‘complete bet,’ a complicated bet available only to high-roller players.
What is a Complete Bet in Roulette?
A complete bet in roulette is complex, with the gambler placing a bet on every combination that includes a number of their choice. This covers all of the inside bets for a particular number: a straight bet on the number itself, split bets on the neighboring numbers, street bets covering the row of three numbers, four corner bets, and two six-line bets.
Mike Ashley’s renowned complete bet was placed on number 17, a common candidate for complete bets as it is situated in the center of the table. He placed £2,000 on number 17, which paid out £70,000 at odds of 35-1. £4,000 was placed on each split bet, totaling £16,000 and paying out £272,000.
A £6,000 street bet earned him £66,000, while a £50,000 bet on each of the 2-1 bets netted him £200,000. In addition, he made two £12,000 bets that the number would be between 13 and 18, or 16 and 21. His total stake was £480,000, resulting in a net win of £1,284,000.
Ashley’s win ranks him among the biggest roulette winners of all time, alongside names such as Pedro Grendene Bartelle, who won $3,500,000 in 2017, and Sir Philip Green, who raked in £2,000,000 in 2004.
Complete bets, like big jackpot winners, are rare, explaining why Mike Ashley’s win has achieved legendary status. Yet, while this was an exceptional occurrence, lucrative roulette online games enable big wins more regularly. Live dealer streaming with accelerated rounds provides bigger payouts, opening new avenues for substantial rewards and profitable gameplay.
For example, the European wheel’s single zero creates better odds for players than American roulette’s double zero. Wagers like Split Bets, Street Bets, and Corner Bets pay more than even-money wagers on colors or dozens. Progressive jackpots accumulate across the casino network, seeding chances for life-changing scores.
Given that, today, Mike Ashley continues to have a large stake in his company, the Frasers Group, alongside numerous investments in fashion, furniture, and underwear. He is renowned for rescuing struggling companies and expanding his reach into the local high street in the UK. His reputation for working hard looks set to continue to support his lavish lifestyle for years to come.
Founding of Sports Direct
Born in 1964 in the Midlands of the UK, Ashley initially displayed a great talent for playing squash and played at a county level. Unfortunately, an injury put paid to his prospects, and after a brief stint as a coach, he founded his first sports and ski shop in 1982.
By the late 1990s, the fledgling business had expanded, numbering over 100 stores and branded as Sports Direct International PLC. It became the biggest sporting goods chain in the UK, selling various products catering to various sporting activities.
The development of the Sports Direct brand included the takeover of various sporting goods companies such as Dunlop, Karrimor, and Everlast Worldwide. However, Ashley did not stop there; he also purchased stakes in JD Sports, Umbro, and Matalan, to name a few.
Sports Direct International PLC was floated on the stock exchange in 2007, and in 2019, the company became the Frasers Group PLC. In 2021, he resigned as CEO, handing over the role to his son-in-law, Michael Murray, but remaining on the board and retaining a significant share in the company.
Acquisition of Newcastle United FC
In 2007, Ashley completed a £55m takeover of Premier League club Newcastle United FC and began a 14-year spell in charge of the football club. His club ownership was marked with highs and lows, starting well with Ashley’s enthusiasm for watching the games with fellow fans and spending time with them in pubs after the matches.
His ownership was punctuated with difficult times for the club, with many changes of management and even relegation to the Championship on two occasions. The decision to rename the historic St James’ Park stadium as the Sportsdirect.com @ St James’ Park Stadium in 2011 was not well received and was reversed in 2012.
Although the club was put up for sale more than once during his tenure, Ashley eventually sold the football club in 2021 for £310m to a Saudi Arabian consortium. Fortunately, Newcastle United’s fortunes have improved of late, with standout stars such as Dan Burn, Alexander Isak, and Calum Wilson helping to drive the club forward.