Giovanni Garrisi has overseen the growth of Stanleybet Group into a €700 million turnover company, with operations in Europe, Africa and Latin America, and a thriving B2B division. However, his route to the top of the gambling industry has been very different to that of most of his fellow CEOs.
With a doctorate in mathematics, Garrisi started his career in the financial sector, but eventually happened upon the idea that his skills could help him to beat the Italian TotoCalcio pools game. His probability model eventually netted him a huge win and convinced him that his future lay in the sports betting industry.
Garrisi subsequently introduced UK-style sports betting to the Italian market, having written his own software to do it. He then set his sights higher and, in 1997, negotiated a joint venture with Stanley Leisure to create Stanley International Betting, which had exclusive rights for the brand’s sports betting operation outside the UK.
In 2006, following Stanley Leisure’s takeover by Genting, Garrisi bought the other 50% of Stanleybet’s international betting division. He has since overseen significant growth in the B2C business, major court victories over the Italian government that have benefited the wider industry, and the establishment of the high-tech Magellan Robotech B2B division.