Our mystery billionaire?
As a man who doesn't mind the odd flutter on the horses, my eye was drawn this morning to a small story about Zeljko Ranogajec, a reclusive figure who is considered to be one of the biggest gamblers in the world.
According to the story in the Australian Financial Review, Ranogajec and his business associate David Walsh, who is best known as the owner of one of Australia's best private art collections, have lobbed a bid to buy Tote Tasmania, the State Government's gambling operation.
The Tassie Government wants to offload its Tote business for $200-300 million and most of the big gambling companies - including Tabcorp, Tattersalls, British firm Ladbrokes and Greek firm Intralot - are believed to have submitted offers.
But the bid from Ranogajec and Walsh is likely to be the subject of the most speculation. It would represent an unprecedented step into the spotlight for Ranogajec, who will be unknown to most people outside the world of gambling - and not very well-known to those inside it.
Ranogajec is incredibly private and the few details that have emerged about his business are sketchy at best. Born in Hobart in 1961 to Croatian immigrant parents, the punter is said to be a mathematical whiz that has made a fortune betting in casinos and on horse races and sporting events.
His turnover is said to be $1 billion a year - a fact which has earned Ranogajec the title of the "betting billionaire". Indeed, the report in the AFR describes Ranogajec as one of the biggest betters on the Tasmanian Tote, and suggests that the amount he has offered for Tote Tasmania is lower than other bidders because of this fact.
Despite his reputation as a betting billionaire, it's not clear exactly how wealthy he actually might be - professional punters usually often operate on profit margins of as low as 1-2%, so Ranogajec might not actually have a personal fortune of more than $1 billion.
Still, the emergence of this international man of mystery will certainly be worth following.