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Business and gambling aren't terms many combine when referring to success, but Elon Musk isn't like most in more ways than one. The Tesla co-founder is known as a serial entrepreneur who takes massive risks with his business ventures. Despite his critics' lack of faith or vision, the outcomes of Elon Musk's business gambles prove he knows how to play the game. And he is playing it right. What makes his bets so interesting is the variety of games he plays, and his best bets include, among others, financial solutions, alternative energy, AI cures for degenerative diseases, space travel, and, most recently, social media. His wealth comes from a list of successful business ventures that include startups and ideas way ahead of their time. Let's dive into the craziest wagers he's made and unpack numerous decks initially stacked against the multi-billionaire. We also look at some plays where the dealer still needs to reveal their cards. Big Bets After completing university qualifications in Pennsylvania, Musk, his brother, and a partner founded Zip2 through angel investor funds. The city guide and maps company changed hands via M&A deals, eventually leaving Musk with his share of a $22 million buy-out in 1999. He gradually built an empire from this success, increasing his stakes with every opportunity. His business success proves the importance of knowing which hand to hold, raise, or fold. ✓ X.com and PayPal Many may not know this about Elon Musk, but he co-founded one of the first federally insured online banks called X.com. Following the success of Zip2, Musk moved into the financial services sector, and this bet eventually made him part of the PayPal Mafia. During its first couple of years, there were intense political struggles in the company, and following its first 200,000 sign-ups, the board voted against Musk as CEO. As an initial funder of the company and its biggest shareholder, Musk stepped up as CEO once more when X.com merged with its biggest competitor, Confinity. This was short-lived as the board ousted him again, and Peter Thiel replaced him as CEO. Confinity owned a product named PayPal, which allowed PalmPilot owners to send money via infrared ports. As we know, this technology expanded to include email and web transfers worldwide. With Thiel as the leader, the new board renamed the company PayPal in 2001. One year later, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion, and Musk received $175.8 million for his 11.72% shares in the business. Many of the founders became giants in the tech world, and they dubbed this group the PayPal Mafia. Fifteen years after the sale, Musk purchased the X.com domain from PayPal for an undisclosed amount, claiming it had sentimental value. ✓ SpaceX With no time to count his gains, Musk moved on to his next bet upping the ante and triggering many negative responses. Two decades later, the man is one of the greatest visionaries, but most thought he was mad. In March 2002, Musk founded his own privately-owned aerospace company, SpaceX. Musk commenting about the mission of SpaceX said: "You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great – and that's what being a spacefaring civilisation is all about. It's about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars." True to his pedantic nature, Musk stated that SpaceX would decrease the cost of space travel by a factor of ten. After failing to purchase refurbished rockets in Russia, the visionary plotted how he could manufacture his own rockets at a fraction of the cost of traditional spacecraft. Much to his critics and competitors' disgust, Musk's SpaceX is an enormous success story in the aerospace industry. Valued at $74 billion in April 2022, SpaceX successfully launched satellites with reusable rockets and outperformed NASA with innovative engineering. Their current focus is on Starship, the first all-purpose space vehicle. Musk seems willing to go all-in on the fact that it will reach orbit this year. ✓ Tesla Musk currently holds the position of Tesla's CEO and leads all product designs, engineering, and global manufacturing. He staked $6.5 million in the automotive and clean energy company in 2004, becoming the biggest shareholder and chairman. Five years later, the company produced its first electronic car, the Tesla Roadster. Since its inception, Tesla has released seven electronic vehicles ranging from low-priced to high-end sports models. The engineers who founded Tesla believed that it isn't necessary to compromise to drive an electric car. Musk agreed and, since stepping up as the company's CEO in 2008, made bold bets that mostly landed in his favour. Less than two decades after his gamble on futuristic engineering and electric cars, Tesla boasts a net worth of $58 billion. Musk attests to the risk he took when moving into a highly saturated automotive industry and following many who failed in the Electric Vehicle mass-market. Today the Tesla Model 3 holds the record as the top-selling electric vehicle, and thanks to big gambles made by Musk, the company's portfolio includes other renewable energy subsidiaries. With their sights set on clean energy and transport, Tesla acquired battery production companies, built the Gigafactory, and bet on solar energy products. ✓ SolarCity and Tesla Energy In April 2015, Elon Musk announced the launch of their home energy storage system, Powerwall, and Tesla Energy came into existence. The clean energy subsidiary of Tesla develops, manufactures, sells, and installs photovoltaic solar energy generation systems, battery energy storage, and related renewable energy products. The following year, Musk would stack his chips to the value of $2.6 billion in a highly debated acquisition. While attending to his duties as CEO of Tesla and managing his aerospace dream, Musk and his partners at Tesla broadened their sustainable energy horizons. In 2016, Tesla gained a residential solar company, SolarCity. Musk bet on a family business as SolarCity founders Peter and Lyndon Rive are cousins of Musk. Perhaps, taking a significant gamble on the blind. At the time of acquisition, SolarCity had installed over 325,000 solar energy systems throughout the US based on a popular leasing system. Unfortunately, the company had $1.5 billion in debt, although it was the largest residential installer in the States. The contentious acquisition had Musk in hot water and shareholders up in arms. Since the controversial buy-out of SolarCity, Tesla Energy rolled out its solar roof and solar inverter and underwent a business model shift. The company focuses on making its systems the most economical in the market, and from 2021, customers need to purchase a Powerwall if they have a solar roof or inverter installed. Since then, the business increased installations by 68% from 2020 and deployed 32% more battery energy storage products. ✓ Gigafactory One of Elon's biggest gambles to date is the $5 billion investment in the mammoth lithium-ion battery plant. Gigafactory, named for its sheer size, had critics calling Musk's bluff while others admired his audacity. With Tesla's mission to accelerate the adoption of sustainable energy solutions and offer affordable electric vehicles (EV), they need to increase their production. This motif drove the development and completion of the Nevada Gigafactory. The intention is for the factory to supply enough batteries to support the production of 500,000 EVs per year and produce Model 3 vehicles. Musk explained that this number exceeded the sum of all the EV productions throughout the world. The facility reached completion in the past month as the Tesla CEO cut the red ribbon for opening the largest factory in the world. Since the Gigafactory announcement in 2014, Tesla opened smaller Giga branches throughout the globe, and today the company produces more batteries than any of its competitors. Nevada's 1.9 million square foot factory is a self-contained energy facility producing its renewable energy sources and is a net-zero energy factory. Bets on the Future The big difference between gambling and business ventures is that gambles have much shorter waiting periods before you find out whether you go bust or take the pot home. As the famous country song says, the secret to survivin' is knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep. The Tesla CEO has a knack for risky bets, and so far, it seems like he's been right on the money. We await the results on some of his gambles as they are 'works in progress'. With Tesla finally ready to scale up as its Gigafactory opens its doors, we believe the following projects may enjoy a gear change too. ✓ Hyperloop and The Boring Company What started as one of Musk's imaginative "wouldn't it be cool" ideas turned into a new possibility of public transport. In 2013 Musk announced a dream of creating a vacuum-tube train system with costs cheaper than other modes of transportation. This may have sprouted the launch of The Boring Company in 2016. Although the vactrain does not exist yet and large companies like Virgin are chasing Musk's dream, The Boring Company works on more straightforward projects like digging tunnels. The company aims to create detours and faster routes with underground tunnel networks to solve 'soul-destroying traffic'. ✓ AI Elon unveiled that Tesla is working on a robot and the Tesla Bot project is the most important one for the EV company this year. Musk believes they can only solve the autopilot conundrum when real-life AI is a reality. According to its CEO, the company aims to have a bi-pedal, humanoid robot available in 2022. Essentially, the robot will be capable of performing tasks that may be unsafe, repetitive, or boring. The development is quite interesting as Musk is known for his warnings against AI and robots specifically. Yet, he champions the Tesla Bot project and insists the company invests heavily in this project. This is not the only stake he has in Artificial Intelligence, though. Musk co-founded a neurotechnology startup in 2016, Neuralink. Musk described the work as a "Fitbit in your skull" and introduced one of the early devices in 2020, and explained how the technology might soon cure paralysis and other neurological disabilities. Although neuroscientists criticise the claims and call them highly speculative, Musk remains hopeful about linking their technology with the brain and changing lives in the process. A Revolutionary Mind Whether you agree with his crazy ideas or not, Elon Musk's track record shows how brilliant and reckless he can be. Some of his insane ideas pay massive dividends, while others come back to bite him years later. One thing is certain - the 21st century would be a lot more monotone without his revolutionary mind. Considering the billions of dollars he has to back his ideas, we are bound to see more gambling from the billionaire.
At GamblersPick we are committed to bringing you coverage of the online gambling industry that puts you first. Whether it’s revealing a new online slot, discussing an important industry news event, or reviewing an online casino we look at it all through the lens of what it means to the player. This player-centric mentality was the driving force behind the creation of the GamblersPick Seal of Approval. Most importantly this Seal of Approval cannot be bought, any of the recommended casinos featuring the emblem have earned it! Our vetting process scrutinises the gambling site looking at five key criteria: their trustworthiness, the quality of their customer service, how they secure your private information, available banking options and their library of casino games. These review criteria were not chosen at random but rather because they covered the most important questions players around the world are asking about gambling. Join us as we specifically answer the 20 most frequently asked questions about online casinos and gambling in general: Trustworthiness ✓Are online gambling sites rigged? This is a very valid question given that a casino could rig games in their favour. This is why recommend always playing at a regulated online. Licensed casinos have their payouts and games tested by third-party auditors as part of their licensing agreement which ensures your safety. ✓Which online casinos are best? This all depends on what you like in an online casino. We always recommend playing where you can use your local currency, transact via a local banking option, and get games from your preferred providers - we cover all this information in our casino reviews. Start your journey with our already vetted list of GamblersPick Select casinos. ✓Who regulates online gambling? The online gambling industry now boasts a host of licensed and regulated gambling jurisdictions. These gambling authorities ensure that online casinos operating in their region follow strict safety and fair play guidelines. For a full list of gambling regulators visit our section on licenses. ✓Where is online gambling illegal? This is a broad question as there is a fine line between illegal and unregulated. Some countries do not offer licensed online gambling but still allow citizens to gambling online without fear of prosecution. We recommend checking the legality of online gambling with a local legal professional to avoid any problems. Customer Experience ✓Are gambling winnings taxable? There is no universal law on whether gambling winnings are taxable. We recommend speaking to a local tax professional or visiting the website of your national revenue service to ensure you are complying with local laws. ✓Can gambling affect your credit score? Interestingly it is not gambling that affects your credit score but where you are seen to be spending your money. Gambling is considered a high-risk activity that could cause your credit score to be adjusted down. However, since it is only a fraction of your income or net worth the impact should be negligible. ✓Can gambling make you rich? For a few lucky gamblers winning a progressive jackpot or big poker tournament has made them rich. However, gambling is not a guaranteed way to make money rather it should be seen as a hobby. Gamble for the entertainment factor, and should you hit a big win consider it a stroke of good luck. ✓How do casino odds work? Whenever you play an online casino game there is the chance that you will win despite there being a House edge that ultimately favours the casino. This is expressed as the game's RTP% (return to player percentage). Should a slot offer an RTP of 96% it means that over time that slot will return 96% of the staked amount to players leaving the House with a 4% margin. There is not guarantee that you will get your money back, however, which is why some lose while others win. ✓Do online gamblers ever win? Yes, there are many stories of online gamblers winning big jackpots. The Microgaming progressive jackpot network for example has paid out over €1.4 billion in prize money. However, the real question is not whether players win but how many players win more than spend. We always recommend playing with a budget that you can afford to lose which ensures you will have a good time regardless of the outcome. ✓Where can I find the best online casino welcome bonuses? With so many online casinos on the market, we have taken the time to both review them and give you detailed information on the available welcome bonuses that you could claim. Visit our Bonuses section for access to nearly 300 welcome offers. ✓What is a No Deposit Bonus at online casinos? When you claim a welcome bonus when joining a new casino, you generally receive bonus credits or spins once you make a minimum deposit. In the case of a no deposit bonus, you will get these credits or Free Spins without having to deposit. ✓Are online casino bonuses worth it? When an online casino bonus meets your needs, it is. If you’re looking to test a casino without risking your own money or want to boost your bankroll to extend your playtime, they are great. Some players do not like having to meet wagering requirements before making a withdrawal and in that case, it is better to only play with your own money. Safety ✓Is it safe to play at online casinos? It is safest to play at licensed online casinos as you are guaranteed that they employ the latest online security and encryption measures to protect your personal and banking information. When visiting a gambling site always look for the “lock” symbol in the web address bar as this shows that the site is secure. ✓Can online casinos cheat? The honest answer is that they can. To avoid this play at a reputable online casino that offers games by well-known Game developers and is audited by recognised third-party auditing firms. This ensures multiple levels of compliance and gives you the best chance of a safe and secure experience. Payments ✓Which gambling sites accept PayPal? If you’re looking for a GamblersPick Select PayPal site to gamble with we can recommend visiting PlayOJO Casino. That being said we offer insights into more than 400 payment methods and the casino who offer them to help you find the best banking options and casino partners. ✓Can online casinos refuse to pay out winnings? Not legally no. If you have legitimately won, then the casino owes you your payout as part of the agreement you entered when joining their site. The only caveat to this is if there is an error that occurred in the game which invalidates the win. Should this happen, a reputable online casino will provide proof of the error and in some cases provide some measure of compensation to ease the loss of a big win. Casino Games ✓Where did gambling originate? Nobody knows if early cavemen placed bets on who could take down the biggest woolly mammoth, but historians have found examples of six-sided dice which could be dated back to 3000 BC. It has also been proven that early Chinese civilisation held lotteries as far back as 2300 BC. However, casinos, as we know them today first, appeared in Italy in the 17th century. ✓Which online gambling game has the best odds? The three casino games with the best odds for players are without doubt Baccarat, roulette and craps which have a House edge of 1.06%, 1.35% and 1.4% respectively. Slots are the most prolific online casino game type but generally hold a 3%-5% advantage for the casino. ✓What are the different types of gambling? The term “gambling” covers a wide variety of activities, which not only includes games of chance like slots, roulette and even lottery but also games of skill like poker and sports betting. ✓Are online casino games fair? Casino games from reputable providers like Microgaming, Playtech, Evolution and others use random number generators which use the law of probability to ensure random and therefore fair outcomes. As part of their licensing agreement, these providers are audited by third parties which adds an additional layer of accountability and security.
When was the last time you paid for something in cash or even had cash on you? Last year, the Federal Reserve found that consumers used cash 26% of the time when making a payment. It might not be surprising to hear that the days of paper bills are dwindling. On the rise, however, is the use of cryptocurrency. Perhaps you haven't gotten on board with it yet, but you might, now that PayPal and Bitcoin are teaming up. That's right, PayPal's 305 million users will be able to buy and sell bitcoins on the platform. In response to this announcement, the cost of the currency increased by nearly $12,000. Here's what this cryptocurrency's increase in accessibility will mean for you. When and Where Can You Use PayPal and Bitcoin? While PayPal is a global company, its partnership with Bitcoin will take off in the United States first. During the final weeks of 2020, users will be able to buy and sell the currency with each other through their accounts. Lucky for them, there are also 26 million retailers around the globe that accept payments by PayPal. Beginning in early 2021, PayPal will allow consumers to use to pay for their purchases at these retail sites using their bitcoin wallets. The currency will get converted during the transaction, as most retailers do not accept bitcoins yet. Gambling is also going the way of digital currency. While this excludes online casinos, there are physical casinos around the nation that do accept PayPal and Bitcoin. Feel free to use bitcoins when hitting the slots or the blackjack table next year. Learn First, Try Second There's no need to worry if this is your first time dabbling with cryptocurrency. PayPal's got you covered. They'll be offering free online lessons to teach you all about cryptocurrency, as well as how to buy and sell bitcoin with PayPal. It is important to educate yourself on the topic before using this form of currency. It is common for newcomers to lose money. People who understand the market can manipulate the value of the currency and get you to pay more for it than it's worth. On top of that, Bitcoin's value naturally fluctuates more than traditional currency. This adds to the risk of using it. You'll need to pay close attention to bitcoin's value before you buy or sell it. These are just some of the reasons why PayPal created classes for their consumers. However, if you are smart about when and how you buy and sell the cryptocurrency, this could be a match made in heaven for you. Get Yourself a PayPal and bitcoin wallet Perhaps you were apprehensive about using cryptocurrency before this announcement and now you're eager to know more about it. Read these 9 facts about Bitcoin to get a better look at the company's background. Although Paypal isn't the first company to use Bitcoin, it could influence the future of banking in a major way. Leave a comment down below and share your thoughts about PayPal and Bitcoin teaming up.