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Bill Benter – The Man Who Won 1 Billion Dollars Betting on Horses

Bill Benter is an American philanthropist and professional gambler famous for developing computer software that helped him solve horse racing. Per some estimates and most online sites that specialize in people's net worth, Bill Benter net worth is well over 1 billion dollars.

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The Pennsylvania-born Benter is considered the first man who successfully solved horse racing and, certainly, the first man who became a billionaire after doing so. The billionaire gambler successfully used his knowledge in Mathematics throughout his whole gambling career, but as it would later turn out, he would make the best of it while living in Hong Kong.

Full NameFull Name
William Benter
Net WorthNet Worth
$1 billion
Source of WealthSource of Wealth
Professional gambler
Famous forFamous for
Developing software for horse race betting
February 21, 1957, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Today we take a closer look into the life of the most successful gambler of all time. From his early beginnings at the blackjack tables in Las Vegas to Bill Benter horse racing algorithm that is worth millions, we will learn what it takes to become a billionaire in the famous gambler's world.

Bill Benter Highlights

Bill Benter’s highlights
  • Banned from Las Vegas casinos for counting cards
  • Created a formula for choosing horse race winners in Hong Kong
  • Richest gambler in the world
  • Founded the Benter Foundation
  • Chairman of International CEO of Acusis LLC
Bill Benter’s quote

“If you are betting on horse racing, you must know that insider information is gold.”

Bill Benter

Gambling Beginnings - Using Math to Beat the Casino

William "Bill" Benter was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 21, 1957, and spent most of his childhood there. His teachers noticed his gift and appetency for math after they realized that little Bill loves to keep himself busy by resolving different mathematical equations that were too advanced for other kids his age.

Unlike most people that fell in love with math, Benter wasn't looking to become a professor or a teacher and work an ordinary job. Instead, he had different plans on how to make a living using his math skills. Bill Benter planned to use his deep understanding of statistics and probabilities to make money gambling.

As he was pretty unfamiliar with the whole casino world at this point in his life, he used Edward O. Thorp's book "Beat the Dealer" to get a better understanding of the casino dynamics. It didn't take long for the math wizard to start using his skills and knowledge to count cards successfully. He would go on to win hundreds of thousands of dollars playing blackjack during his card counting career.

Bill Benter's Algorithm - Successfully Predicting Winners of Horse Races

In the 1980s, he was introduced to Alan Woods, a man that would change the course of his gambling career. At the time, Woods was a member of an Australian card-counting team which Benter joined soon after. The team won thousands of dollars counting cards in Las Vegas until they got banned and placed on the blacklist that circulated among casinos.

At the time, Bill Benter was extremely disappointed, not knowing that the ban he got was the best thing that ever happened to him. Thanks to it, instead of spending the rest of his life making a living in the casinos, he was forced to discover new ways of making money with math and would go on to become the most successful gambler of all time.

It all started with Wood's deep knowledge of the Asian horse racing scene, especially the one in Hong Kong, so he suggested that they should try and win money in horse racing. Unfamiliar with horse race betting, Benter first decided to get familiar with the subject by reading books.

After searching and reading dozens of books, he stumbled upon the title "Searching for Positive Returns at the Track: A Multinomial Logit Model for Handicapping Horse Races" at the University of Nevada library. The book explained that the success of an individual horse could be measured by taking into account different variables like winning record, straight-line speed, size, the skill of the jockey, and so on. In essence, the more variables considered, the more accurate the prediction.

It seemed that something like this could be used in the real world, but to find out, Bill Benter first had to get deeper into the advanced statistics and improve his software writing skills. To help him with this, his partner Woods went to Hong Kong to collect as much data about the races as he could.

Fortunately, Woods was able to find historical data about the races going years back. In fact, there was so much data that they had to hire additional help to input all of the data into their database. As Benter recalled in one of his rare interviews, it took him around nine months of code development and regression studies before the model was finally ready to be tested.

In 1985, he finally went to Hong Kong to meet with Woods and test their algorithms. Their budget at the time was $150,000.

Unfortunately for them, in their first season betting on the Hong Kong horse races, they lost $120,000 of their bankroll, leaving them with $30,000, which was insufficient for a second try. So they set out to find more money. However, because Woods was more successful in raising funds than his partner, he wanted a bigger share of the potential profits. Benter was having none of this, and they ended their relationship.

After spending a couple of years counting cards to renew his bankroll, in 1988, Benter was ready to try again and flew out to Hong Kong. To his surprise, his ex-partner was still betting on horse races and making serious money. Benter wouldn't get bothered by this and continued to improve his software, which resulted in him winning $600,000 in his first year back. After a slow 1989, he hit $3 million in profits in 1990.

He continued winning millions of dollars year after year and decided to go back to the States and continue placing bets via the internet. He also started concentrating on the US horse betting market and shifted some of his attention to beating the bookies on his home soil.

Bill Benter Net Worth and Gambling Winnings

For the last thirty years, Bill Benter has been a successful gambler. He had his last losing summer in 1985 when he first went to Hong Kong, but since then, he has been in the green. Today most of his operations are automated, and he is still one step ahead of the bookies.

Over the years, it has been reported that he amassed a fortune of over 1 billion dollars. It is also speculated that he makes approximately 100 million dollars a year from sports betting thanks to his software that now considers over 130 different variables.

However, in his last interview, Bill Benter himself stated that although he made over 1 billion dollars from betting overall, he also shares some of his profits with his partners and employees.

"Unfortunately, I am not a billionaire," he says.

He added that it was never about the money for him, as he could have earned much more of it if he decided to work in finance. Instead, it was to prove to himself that he could do what no one else could, solve the horse betting market.

With an average of 24% return on investment on his bets, it is safe to say he proved everybody wrong.

Where Is Bill Benter Today?

Although he is still an active bettor, with his software needing smaller adjustments from time to time, Benter has much more free time than before. He is currently residing in Pittsburgh with his wife Vivian Fung and their son, whom he met at the Rotary Club in Hong Kong. The man who solved the horse racing market now dedicates most of his time to his philanthropic and academic activities.

Benter actively makes 6-figure donations to various organizations, from charities and medical institutions to universities and political campaigns.

He is also one of the most respected experts in his field and regularly visits universities all over the world, where he teaches students about different theoretical aspects of forecasting models. And finally, he is a CEO of a medical transcription company, but as he says, he still has trouble applying his gambling knowledge to the business world, and his company is only breaking even.


Who Is Bill Benter?

Bill Benter is an American philanthropist and professional gambler who used his knowledge in mathematics and advanced statistics to create computer software that would successfully predict the outcomes of horse races.

Benter has been using this model since 1985, and some estimates say that during this period, he has won more than 1 billion dollars betting on horse races worldwide, especially in Hong Kong. He is considered the wealthiest and most successful professional gambler in the world.

What Is Bill Benter Algorithm?

The Bill Benter algorithm was created by the mathematician and professional bettor Bill Benter to win money betting on horse racing. Benter used his knowledge of maths, statistics, probabilities, and historical data about past horse races to develop computer software that helped him win millions of betting on horses.

The Bill Benter formula uses over 130 variables such as straight-line speed, size of the horse, the skill of the jockey, winning record, and many others to make the best possible prediction of each individual horse race. It is considered the single best algorithm of this sort in the world, and no one has come close to developing anything similarly successful to this day.

What Is Bill Benter Net Worth?

When it comes to Bill Benter's net worth, most online sources speculate that the American professional gambler is worth north of 1 billion dollars. It is also estimated that Benter earns over $100 million from betting on horse races yearly.

However, in one of his interviews, the most successful gambler of all time stated that although he made over 1 billion dollars betting on horses overall, a chunk of the profits went to his partners and employees as well as to support all the logistics that go in an operation this size. Judging by the generous donations, Benter made enough money to never worry about the financial aspect of life again.

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