They are among Britain’s most secretive billionaires, with a portfolio that spans some of the world’s most lavish properties.

Over the past 30 years Ian and Richard Livingstone have quietly amassed a multibillion-pound empire that includes the West Palm Beach Marriott hotel in Florida and Cliveden, the Buckinghamshire country house turned hotel where John Profumo met Christine Keeler.

But their shrewdest bet by far is a very different kind of investment.

The Livingstone brothers’ stake in Evolution Gaming, an online gambling business that has surged in popularity during the pandemic, has delivered 5,000pc returns since they became shareholders.

A Swedish business that fills studios in Eastern Europe with cameras and croupiers to run remote casino games for companies such as Betfair and William Hill, Evolution Gaming has skyrocketed in value over the past year with its share price rising 200pc.

The lockdown boom in remote gambling has seen the brothers’ 8.6pc stake in Evolution soar in value to almost $3bn (£2.1bn).

Their early investment in the business, accrued at least six years ago before it floated in 2015, saw Richard listed as a founder in its prospectus thanks to his 16.5pc stake. It is Ian, however, who sits on Evolution’s board.

“They have a strong position in a very attractive market niche in online gaming,” says Martin Arnell, a senior equity analyst at DNB Markets. “So far there is no competitor who has been able to match Evolution’s strong live casino product.”

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