It is with great sadness the Knutsson family share the news of the death of former owner and Chairman, Bertil Knutsson, who passed away after a short illness aged 80 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Bertil was an inspiring leader, who became one of the gaming industry’s most influential characters in a career spanning more than 50 years. The introduction of the revolutionary Chipper Champ™ in 1979 changed the face of casino gaming forever. Earlier this year, he received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the 5th International Gaming Awards, in recognition of his influence and contribution to the gaming industry.
“Bertil was not just a father, he was my best friend and confidant. The values he instilled in his three sons transcends all aspects of life; integrity, honesty and compassion,” said Michael Knutsson, Director of TCSJOHNHUXLEY.
“For those of us who were fortunate enough to know and work with Bertil we have lost a dear friend and mentor. Bertil leaves behind enduring legacies and his spirit will be forever with the company. The gaming industry will miss him dearly, and I have lost a father,” said Tristan Sjöberg, Executive Chairman of TCSJOHNHUXLEY.
A true visionary who introduced leisure casinos to Sweden in 1958, he also signed one of the first foreign company controlled joint ventures in the former Soviet Union in the late 1980’s. Bertil also broke new ground in bringing online sports-betting and poker to the Nordic markets through a joint venture with Ladbrokes Plc. He became a major shareholder in online gaming providers Betsson AB (Publ.) and Net Entertainment AB (Publ.). His zest for life and varied interests led him to become involved in many industries, such as bingo in Africa, renewable energy and IT security, and he left his mark on them all.
In addition to his business interests, he was an accomplished boxing referee who umpired Championship bouts all across Europe; he subsequently turned his enthusiasm to organising boxing galas together with his childhood friend Ingemar Johansson – the former World Heavyweight Champion of the world – and was Chairman of the Swedish Boxing Federation 1985 – 89. A keen follower of sports in general he also brought World Championship Tennis (WCT) to Sweden and Harlem Globetrotters to Scandinavia in the 1970’s. His love for harness racing will live on through the establishment of Knutsson Trotting AB, a venture that has produced top class racing horses such as Sebastian K, the winner of King Gustav V’s trophy in 2010.