Eskander was exposed at an early aged to the life of bookmaking through his father’s business activities. Eskander’s father, Michael, immigrated to Australia from Egypt in 1966, earning his bookmaking licence in 1984, and subsequently going on to become a prominent name in the Australian bookmaking industry.
Eskander spent much of his childhood at the race track and betting ring, learning lessons that would later inform his career on the track.
Talking about early life as a bookmaker’s son, and of the nature of the industry in general, Eskander recounts: “You can’t get too excited when you have really big days and similarly you try not to get too upset when you have losing days but obviously anything outside the norm does impact your mood. And so yeah, there were some times when we had plans to go out for dinner on a Saturday night and Dad would come home and go, ‘listen guys, [we’ll] just stay at home, it’s been a rough day.”
Eskander’s first practical introduction to bookmaking came from working as a clerk for his father’s booking making business at the age of 18, while studying Commerce at university.
While this would eventually shape the future to come, Eskander initially viewed this more as a means to pay his way through his degree. Says Eskander: “It was just a great part time job. I worked with Dad, I was a clerk,” he says. “Working on the racetrack is dynamic and exciting.”
Receiving his first bookmaker’s license in 1997, Eskander started fielding country race tracks before being granted his Metropolitan rails licence in 2000, during his final year at university.
After working for some years with his father, and with his Metropolitan bookmaking license behind him, Eskander began operating on his own as a bookmaker in Victoria at country race meetings. “I was trading as a sole proprietor under my own name, Dad was trading under his name and we paralleled and it was fine.” recalls Eskander.
The Eskander family name has become synonymous with racing and bookmaking in Australia with Alan’s sister, Lisa, also a licensed bookmaker.
As testament to Eskander’s early acumen on the racetrack, he obtained recognition as having accepted millions of dollars in bets during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and the Sydney Autumn Carnival, prior to forming corporate booking making company Eskander’s Betstar with his father, Michael.
Combining 40 years of bookmaking experience on racing and sports across Australia, Eskander, along with father and long-time bookmaking bastion, Michael, formed Eskander’s Betstar in 2006, a Corporate Bookmaking operation licensed and based in Melbourne and Darwin.
In 2009, Betsar had the honour of being named as a BRW Fast 100 company for 2009. During Eskander’s acceptance of the award, he reflected on the success of Betstar to date as being a result of “good old fashioned service”.
Said Eskander at the time, "The bookmaking industry is highly competitive so you need to look after your members, we often get feedback that dealing with Betstar is like dealing with a good mate which is a stark contrast to the 'next please' service offered by some of our competitors."
Betstar has quickly grown to become one of Australia’s most reputable corporate bookmakers, offering markets on sports, racing and entertainment on events around the world. Currently, Betstar is the only family owned Australian corporate bookmaker left in the market. For this reason, Betstar tends to be patriotic in its advertising without being over the top, promoting the fact that profits stay in Australia rather than get siphoned off overseas.
Alan's opinion is respected in the media and he is often a guest on 3AW's Sports Today as well as his opinions represented on their website. He has featured on other radio stations, including the Bet Stars and Stripes show which runs on SEN's 'All Night Appetite' and has featured on an ABC report into NRL betting.