Denise Coates

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Denise Coates
Born (1967-09-26) 26 September 1967 (age 52)
ResidenceSandbach, Cheshire, England
EducationUniversity of Sheffield
Known forFounder and Chief Executive, Bet365
Net worthUS$10.4 billion (October 2019)[1]
Spouse(s)Richard Smith
Children5, including 4 adopted
Parent(s)Peter Coates
RelativesJohn Coates (brother)

Denise Coates CBE (born 26 September 1967) is a British billionaire businesswoman, the founder and joint chief executive of online gambling company Bet365. As of October 2019, Forbes magazine estimated her net worth at $10.4 billion.[2]

Early life[edit]

Denise Coates is the eldest daughter of Peter Coates, chairman of Stoke City F.C. and a director of Bet365, and is married to Richard Smith, a director at Stoke City Football Club. She earned a first class degree in econometrics from the University of Sheffield.[3]

Business career[edit]

While at school, Coates started work in the cashiers' department within the family bookmaking firm, Provincial Racing, where she would mark up bets. After leaving university she trained as an accountant within the family business, before being given the opportunity to take over the small chain of shops. Having turned around the shops' fortunes, Coates obtained a loan from Barclays to acquire a neighbouring chain. In 1995, she became managing director of the betting shop estate.[4]

Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April 2011


In January 2000, Coates purchased the domain name[5] While working in a temporary building on a car park near one of her shops, she spent a year creating a new online betting site. was launched in 2001. 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 also paid off the loan to RBS.

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

Coates is the majority shareholder with 50.01% of Bet365. Her personal fortune is estimated at $5.1 billion, as of February 2018.[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."[6] 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."[7][8]

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[9] and it has donated £100 million[10] to twenty UK charities to help support projects home and abroad.

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.[11][12]

The Foundation pledged £230,000[13] to St Joseph's College, in Trent Vale, after Coates was impressed by a presentation on the school's work to help support vulnerable youngsters in Sierra Leone's second city Bo.

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Richard Smith, and they live "quietly" in a farmhouse in Betchton near Sandbach, Cheshire.[3][6] She drives an Aston Martin with personalised number plates bearing her initials.[5]

They have five children, including four that in March 2014 were reported as being "recently adopted from the same family".[4][1][14]

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.[15] In 2012, she received an honorary doctorate from Staffordshire University.[3]

In 2013, Coates was named as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[16]

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.[17]


  1. ^ a b c "Forbes profile: Denise Coates". Forbes. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Denise Coates". Forbes. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Denise Coates CBE". Staffordshire University. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b Pagano, Margareta (4 March 2014). "Against the odds: Denise Coates's good fortune". The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b Bowers, Simon (8 June 2010). "Denise Coates: the hidden 24/7 woman behind Bet365". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "UK's best-paid boss earns £265m". BBC News. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Billionaire Bet365 boss Denise Coates pocketed 'obscene' £265m pay packet last year - earning 9,500 times more than an average UK worker". This is Money. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  9. ^ Charity Commission. DENISE COATES FOUNDATION, registered charity no. 1149110.
  10. ^ "Denise Coates Charity Foundation".
  11. ^ University, Staffordshire. "Denise Coates Foundation awards a hundred bursaries to Staffordshire University students". Staffordshire University. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  12. ^ "ewb". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Bet365 Foundation Donation".
  14. ^ Evans, Peter (12 November 2017). "Bet365 co-founder Denise Coates's £200m payday". The Times. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Denise Coates is among those named in New Year Honours". BBC News. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Denise Coates CBE". BBC. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  17. ^ "SBC announces new inductees to Sports Betting Hall of Fame". SBC News. Retrieved 30 August 2019.