Denise Coates

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Denise Coates

Born (1967-09-26) 26 September 1967 (age 54)
EducationUniversity of Sheffield
Known forFounder and joint CEO, Bet365
Spouse(s)Richard Smith
Parent(s)Peter Coates
RelativesJohn Coates (brother)

Denise Coates CBE (born 26 September 1967) is a British billionaire businesswoman, the founder, majority shareholder and joint chief executive of online gambling company Bet365.[2]

In October 2019, Forbes magazine estimated Coates's net worth at $12.2 billion.[3] In 2020, she earned a salary of £422 million and dividends of £48 million.[4] As of 2021, she has been the highest paid chief executive in Britain for several years,[4] and is one of the wealthiest women in Britain, according to the Sunday Times Rich list.[5]

Early life[edit]

Denise Coates was born the eldest daughter of Peter Coates, chairman of Stoke City F.C. and a director of Bet365. She earned a first class degree in econometrics from the University of Sheffield.[6]

Business career[edit]

While at school, Coates started work in the cashiers' department of Provincial Racing, a bookmaking firm owned by her family. After leaving university, she continued to work at Provincial Racing, as an accountant. Following this, Coates became managing director over the small chain of shops in 1995. That same year, Coates obtained a loan from Barclays to acquire a neighbouring chain.[7]

Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April 2011


In January 2000, Coates purchased the domain name[8] was launched in 2001 as an online betting site. The business borrowed £15 million from RBS against the family's betting shop estate. In 2005, these shops were sold to Coral for £40 million, which allowed Coates to pay off the loan to RBS.

As of 2016, Bet365 is one of the world's largest online gambling companies, with $2 billion in revenues and facilitating $45 billion in yearly bets. The company also owns a majority stake in Stoke City Football Club. In 2015, Bet365 moved its headquarters from Stoke to Gibraltar because of its favourable regulations. Coates still runs the company alongside her brother, and co-CEO, John Coates.[9]

Coates is the majority shareholder with 50.01% of Bet365. Her personal fortune is estimated at $12 billion, as of December 2019.[1]

In 2017, Coates was criticised for paying herself £217 million, with Mike Dixon, CEO of Addaction, saying "It cannot be right that the CEO of a betting company is paid 22 times more than the whole industry ‘donates’ to treatment."[10] In 2018, it was announced that her salary had increased to £265 million, around 9,500 times more than the average UK salary, with Luke Hildyard of the High Pay Centre commenting, "Obviously, people who build successful companies need to be rewarded for their hard work, but this is an obscene amount of money for someone who is already a billionaire. It's weird to think that someone so rich would want to get their hands on even more, rather than put it to a more useful purpose."[11] Her salary of £421 million in 2020 was 50% higher than it was in 2019, and higher than all FTSE 100 Index CEOs combined.[4]

Denise Coates Foundation[edit]

Coates set up the Bet365 Foundation in August 2012, and in February 2016 it was renamed to Denise Coates Foundation. It is a registered charity under English law[12] and it donated £100 million[13] to twenty UK charities as of 2014.

Charities which have received funds include Oxfam, CAFOD, the Douglas Macmillan Hospice for cancer sufferers in Stoke, and relief programmes for victims caught in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. University scholarships and theatre donations have also been offered.[14][15]

The Foundation pledged £230,000[16] to St Joseph's College, in Trent Vale, for the school's work to help support vulnerable young people in Bo, Sierra Leone.

In March 2020 the foundation granted £235,000 to The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme for essential refurbishment and redevelopment.[17][18]

In April 2020, Coates donated £10 million through her foundation to University Hospitals of North Midlands to support staff fighting coronavirus.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Coates is married to Richard Smith, and they live in Betchton near Sandbach, Cheshire.[6][10] She drives an Aston Martin with personalised number plates bearing her initials.[8]

They have five children, including four that in March 2014 were reported as being "recently adopted from the same family".[7][1][20]

Honours and awards[edit]

In January 2012, Coates was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the community and business.[21] In 2012, she received an honorary doctorate from Staffordshire University.[6]

In 2013, Coates was named as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[22]

In 2019, Coates was inducted to the Sports Betting Hall of Fame run by Sports Betting Community (SBC) for her leadership in the gambling industry.[23]


  1. ^ a b c "Forbes profile: Denise Coates". Forbes. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  2. ^ Gill, Oliver; Foy, Simon (18 December 2019). "Bet365's Denise Coates cements place as world's best-paid woman with £320m payday". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Denise Coates". Forbes. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Bet365 boss earns £469m in a single year". BBC News. 31 March 2021. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  5. ^ "The Sunday Times Rich List 2020: The 10 richest women in Britain". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Denise Coates CBE". Staffordshire University. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  7. ^ a b Pagano, Margareta (4 March 2014). "Against the odds: Denise Coates's good fortune". The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b Bowers, Simon (8 June 2010). "Denise Coates: the hidden 24/7 woman behind Bet365". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  9. ^ correspondent, Rupert Neate Wealth (21 November 2018). "Bet365 founder paid herself an 'obscene' £265m in 2017". The Guardian – via
  10. ^ a b Neate, Rupert (12 November 2017). "Bet365 chief Denise Coates paid herself £217 million last year". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  11. ^ "UK's best-paid boss earns £265m". BBC News. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  12. ^ "DENISE COATES FOUNDATION, registered charity no. 1149110". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  13. ^ Bowers, Simon (11 July 2014). "Bet365's Denise Coates sets up £100m charity foundation". The Guardian – via
  14. ^ University, Staffordshire. "Denise Coates Foundation awards a hundred bursaries to Staffordshire University students". Staffordshire University. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  15. ^ "ewb". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Bet365 Foundation Donation".
  17. ^ Elliott, Louise (29 June 2020). "North Staffordshire theatre set to undergo £750,000 refurbishment". stokesentinel. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Bet365 boss donates £10m to NHS for coronavirus". BBC News. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  20. ^ Evans, Peter (12 November 2017). "Bet365 co-founder Denise Coates's £200m payday". The Times. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Denise Coates is among those named in New Year Honours". BBC News. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Denise Coates CBE". BBC. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  23. ^ "SBC announces new inductees to Sports Betting Hall of Fame". SBC News. 30 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.