Known much like Jon Price in some of the most elite and confidential circles in the world Zeljko Ranogajec is one of the most prolific and famous businessmen and professional gamblers in the world. While never officially confirmed they most likely obtain the title as the “Richest Gamblers in the world”.  Ranogajec a gambler who started with only a few hundred to his name is now easily worth in the millions, and some have even said billions of dollars. He did not make his money by creating white Collar jobs or Blue Collar Jobs, unlike other billionaires, he made his wealth through gambling in casinos, horse betting, blackjack, just to mention a few of his specialties.

Zeljko was born on the 22nd of May, 1961 to parents who immigrated from Croatia. Hailing from Hobart, Australia, he was a student of University of Tasmania studying Law and commerce and had majored in Tax, Finance, and Banking while in college and soon was taking advantage of his natural ability to find value in betting at the casino. It was around this time when Zeljko started card counting in Blackjack where he was making some money, and this was also when his career as a professional gambler kicked off, as well as his marital life as his wife Shelley who is an active business partner but back then was then a full-time employee at the Wrest Point Casino where he regularly played.

During this stage of his life, Zeljko was a young man who was pursuing his educational career and trying to explore his passion of gambling. Going forward he moved to New South Wales where he furthered his education and changed his school to University of New South Wales (UNSW), but he eventually dropped out of school there to pursue his passion of professional gambling full-time, which would have been a very crazy decision but in retrospect, it worked out for the better, to say the least considering the billions he’s won ever since.

After dropping out of school Zeljko also eventually decided to leave the blackjack tables behind and moved on to gambling of another kind… Horse racing. After getting into the horse racing business, Zeljko lived a low-key lifestyle, though still making his money from his horse racing wagers. This low-key life made it difficult to tell how much he really made off of betting on horse races but some experts have claimed that he wagered around one to two billion dollars (1-2 billion dollars) each year in some countries like Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, the United States of America on racetrack bets where he was able to negotiate favorable terms for rebate bets because of his overall wager sizes thus giving him a distinct advantage and ultimately led to the closure of an Australian track.

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Generally speaking, according to betting trends a very big loss typically comes after a big win, that is, if one is not careful one might lose all the money they won, or more, in the same way that they originally won that money, but such ill-luck has always eluded Zeljko. He has always seemed to have a way of turning his stakes into winners and his little wins to more, bigger wins, thanks to his calculative brain and his photographic memory, which makes him nothing less than a professional.

Though being successful with his bets and making him more money, the Casinos in which he played in were usually running at a loss whenever Zeljko decided to bet in their presence, as a result they eventually banned him from playing in most of the Casinos in Australia.

It was around this time that Zeljko started to build his empire that he’s come to be known for today. At the blackjack tables is where it all started, with Zeljko multi-tasking his schooling and counting of cards at the casino to make a living for himself. This is where his passion for gambling began to come into focus and his distinct talent at spotting systematic advantages also came into play. He obviously spotted the advantage in dropping out of school and going full-time into blackjack, which of course made him what he is today… A billionaire.

Zeljko Ranogajec Professional Gambler

Zeljko Ranogajec Professional Gambler photo from Betswaps.com

You can imagine an individual turning a few hundred of dollars into millions in casinos, but where most of us would have kept doing what had made us successful and enjoyed the new wealth, Zeljko set his sights on a new, more ambitious professional endeavor as he moved overseas.

Although being unable to play blackjack himself cause of the ban from many casinos, that never stopped Zeljko from making his millions from the table. And the ban didn’t stop them from inducting him into the Blackjack Hall of Fame as he was inducted in the year 2011.

Strategies that Zeljko Used To Make Millions Gambling

Turning his focus to wagering on horse racing again, Zeljko employed various strategies in his gambling of which helped fetch him millions. Some of these strategies are:

Spotting the best possible betting opportunities with high liquidity: It is not only about finding the best betting opportunity available, but also finding the ones with high liquidity. Liquidity in this sense means betting opportunities that the regular bettors have most of their money on. So it is to be noted that information is also very relevant in the world of gambling, as one wrong piece of information may cost you a fortune in losing picks.

Betting significant amount of money on identified Margins: Once a distinct advantageous spread is set by the bookmakers and is identified, placing a small wager will just be a waste of a pick, so Zeljko would load up big time on these plays that he felt like had the best odds of winning.

Deal closure with bookmakers for rebates on his bets: Rebates in gambling is when you get an amount paid back after the betting closes. So Zeljko has used this to his advantage and knows how to go about it that even if he loses a bet, the rebate covers almost all the losses for him. His major bookkeeper in this is TabCorp, and it’s important to note that most rebates are given on high stake bets.

Following a story told by his colleague and gambling partner David Walsh, Walsh established the Museum of Old and New Arts (MONA), but the cost of the maintenance of the facilities in the museum were eating him up as they were skyrocketing. As a result, Walsh would not be able to maintain the museum much longer, and so Zeljko came up with the plan that they would go all in on some coming racing events. Walsh and Zeljko did just that as they walked away with triple the amount needed to cover the maintenance fee that the Museum of Old and New Arts needed.

Outside of Horse Racing He Also Beat Keno

Horse-racing and blackjack weren’t Zeljko’s only specialty. According to most accounts, in 1994 Zeljko won a whooping sum of 7.5 million dollars on a keno jackpot at North Ryle RSL club while visiting the leisure and entertainment complex. Though spending a little above 7.5 million dollars to win that big, he was still able to make a profit with a number of other relatively smaller wagers.

Though not confirmed, it is believed that Zeljko also bears another name, “John Wilson,” which happens to be his wife’s Maiden name. It was reported by News Corps that Zeljko has a staff of about 100 people that assist in the analyzing and strategizing of his horse racing and sports wagers.

The Australian Government does not impose a tax on winnings from gambling as they are considered to be hobbies and not a business and since the funds are not used for business, the tax was not imposed on them. But when the Australian Taxing authorities noticed the huge amount of winnings that Zeljko was regularly having, the Australian Tax Officials (ATO) couldn’t keep their eyes off him and finally in 2012, they found a way to extract an undisclosed amount of money from Zeljko in the form of a fine. They finally pursued him after he helped fund his partner Walsh’s business (The Museum of Old and New Arts) with a win from a winning wager at the track mentioned above. They laid claims that the winning from the wager was used to fund a business so therefore he owed an amount to the tax officials which was an estimated fee of $600 million dollars, but the actual money paid by Zeljko was never disclosed and rumors circled that he left for greener pastures.

Upon the conclusion of the disputes with the Australia Tax Officials, Zeljko immediately relocated himself and his business to a location called the “Isle of Man” where he will be safe from the worry of tax officials coming at him with bills and fines. Not long after the moving of his business to this tax haven, Colossus Bets was set up by himself and another business partner, Bernard Marantelli.

Being a Mathematician with a photographic memory, Zeljko surrounds himself with people that are relevant to his course, like other mathematicians, Data analysts, computer scientist and also people who observe horse races. This helps him gain a distinct edge over the competition since these people are always ready to spot the advantage in a race, and Zeljko is always prepared to act on it and capitalize.

Being famous was always the last thing on Ranogajec’s agenda as he loves to live a secretive, low-key lifestyle, and even his accumulated wealth is still undisclosed to the world. He doesn’t give interviews and even his name is not listed among the wealthiest Australians because his accumulated wealth is still based on speculations. According to research, a reporter claims he was able to meet with Zeljko and Zeljko supposedly denied the fact of being a very successful punter and a multi-billionaire.

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