For the twelfth straight year, Bill Gates continues to be the richest man in the world with a net worth of $50 billion, according to the authoritative Forbes magazine, the business world’s bible of wealth and fortune. Microsoft’s founding father may be less active in the corporate world these days, but he still sits comfortably at the top of the hill as the inspiration and subject of envy of all would-be billionaires.
Based on a recent report released by Forbes, becoming a billionaire these days is not as hard as it used to be. The publication reveals that there are now a record 793 billionaires around the world, compared to 691 in 2005, with an average net worth of $3.3 billion. Combined, these 793 men and women have a net worth of $2.6 trillion.
What is stunning is that just three years ago, Forbes could only point to 476 billionaires worldwide, which means that their number has nearly doubled in a three-year span. Contrast that to the magazine’s inaugural list of only 140 billionaires 20 years ago, and you can easily see how so many individuals have reached the billion-dollar plateau in recent years compared to the last two decades.
Economic observers note that the road to riches has now taken on a different look. And perhaps nowhere is that more evident than when you consider new billionaire Calvin Ayre, a jet-setting Canadian playboy who started making his fortune 10 years ago by taking illegal bets over the Internet in Costa Rica. Ayre set up http://Bodog.com in 1995 as a sports betting site which later on added casino horse-racing and poker, and has parlayed that into what has become America’s largest sports betting destination now valued at over $1 billion. Ayre now sits behind a virtual business empire called the Bodog Entertainment Group that has become a mainstream, multi-channel organization. For his efforts, Ayre recently landed on the cover of Forbes magazine.
Another notable new billionaire is Anurag Dikshit, who, like Ayre, made his fortune from online gaming when he and two others went public with their company ParyGaming poker in London in June 2006. Other new billionaires include Vijay Mallya, a liquor mogul and the brains behind Kingfisher beer, and Tulsa Tanti, the owner of Asia’s largest windfarm.
There were also 10 women who were included among the 102 new billionaires in 2006, but only six of them were self-made.