Denise Coates 101: The Visionary Behind Bet365
Zatrun Published at April 11, 2024

Denise Coates, born on 26 September 1967, stands as a pioneering British businesswoman and the driving force behind the global online gambling giant, Bet365. Her entrepreneurial journey, extraordinary success, and significant contributions have left an indelible mark on the business world.

Denise Coates: The Business Luminary

As of July 2023, Forbes estimates Denise Coates’s net worth at a staggering $7.7 billion, a testament to her remarkable achievements. In 2020, she earned a noteworthy salary of £422 million and dividends of £48 million. For several consecutive years leading up to 2021, she held the title of the highest-paid chief executive in Britain.

Her impressive wealth ranks her among the wealthiest women in Britain, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. has conducted a comprehensive analysis of Denise Coates’s remarkable career and enduring impact on the business landscape.

Early Life and Educational Foundations

Denise Coates was born as the eldest daughter of Peter Coates, who serves as the chairman of Stoke City F.C. and is a director of Bet365. Her journey to success commenced with an excellent educational foundation, earning a first-class degree in econometrics from the University of Sheffield.

Denise Coates’s journey into the world of business began at a young age. While still in school, she joined the cashiers’ department of Provincial Racing, a bookmaking firm owned by her family. After completing her education, she continued to contribute to Provincial Racing in the role of an accountant. In 1995, she took a significant step and assumed the position of managing director, overseeing a small chain of shops. During the same year, Coates secured a loan from Barclays, enabling her to acquire a neighboring chain.

The pivotal moment came in January 2000 when Coates acquired the domain name The following year, in 2001, was launched as an online betting site. To fund this venture, the business borrowed £15 million from RBS against the family’s betting shop estate. In 2005, these betting shops were sold to Coral for £40 million, allowing Coates to settle the loan with RBS.

As of 2016, Bet365 has grown to become one of the world’s largest online gambling companies, boasting $2 billion in revenues and facilitating an impressive $45 billion in yearly bets. Furthermore, the company has a majority stake in Stoke City Football Club. In 2015, Bet365 relocated its headquarters from Stoke to Gibraltar, a strategic move driven by favorable regulations. Coates continues to lead the company in partnership with her brother and co-CEO, John Coates. Notably, Coates holds approximately half of Bet365, with her personal fortune estimated at $5.2 billion as of December 2022.

Denise Coates distinguishes herself from other high-net-worth individuals by taking the majority of her income as salary rather than dividends. In 2018, she held the title of the highest-paid woman globally. Notably, she also carried the distinction of being the highest taxpayer in Britain from 2019 to 2022. In 2017, Coates faced criticism for paying herself £217 million.

In 2018, her salary soared to £265 million, approximately 9,500 times more than the average UK salary. Such a significant increase drew attention and raised questions about the allocation of wealth. Her 2020 salary of £421 million was remarkable, standing 50% higher than the previous year and surpassing the combined earnings of all FTSE 100 Index CEOs.

Denise Coates Foundation: A Commitment to Philanthropy

In August 2012, Coates established the Bet365 Foundation, a charitable endeavor that later became the Denise Coates Foundation in February 2016. The foundation is a registered charity under English law, and its philanthropic contributions are noteworthy. It has donated £100 million to twenty UK charities as of 2014. In 2022, the charity made a generous £1 million contribution to support families in Ukraine.

The Denise Coates Foundation has supported a range of charities, including Oxfam, CAFOD, the Douglas Macmillan Hospice for cancer sufferers in Stoke, and relief programs for victims affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Furthermore, the foundation has extended support to university scholarships and theater donations.

One notable pledge included £230,000 for St Joseph’s College in Trent Vale, focusing on aiding vulnerable young people in Bo, Sierra Leone. Additionally, in March 2020, a generous donation of £235,000 was made to The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, facilitating essential refurbishment and redevelopment.

In April 2020, Denise Coates made a substantial donation of £10 million through her foundation to the University Hospitals of North Midlands, aimed at supporting the staff in their fight against the coronavirus.

The Personal Side of Denise Coates

Denise Coates is married to Richard Smith, and they reside in Betchton near Sandbach, Cheshire. She is often seen driving an Aston Martin adorned with personalized number plates featuring her initials. The couple has five children, and it’s worth noting that four of them were reported in March 2014 as being “recently adopted from the same family.”

Denise Coates’s contributions to business and society have earned her numerous honors and awards. In January 2012, she was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her remarkable services to the community and business. In 2012, Staffordshire University bestowed an honorary doctorate upon her.

In 2013, Coates was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. Furthermore, in 2019, she was inducted into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame by Sports Betting Community (SBC) in recognition of her exceptional leadership in the gambling industry.

Denise Coates’s life and career are a testament to vision, determination, and making a meaningful impact. Her journey from humble beginnings to becoming a billionaire business magnate, philanthropist, and influential figure is an inspiring story of success and giving back to society.

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