Denise Coates

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Denise Coates
Born (1967-09-26) 26 September 1967 (age 56)
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield
Known forFounder and joint CEO, Bet365
SpouseRichard Smith
ParentPeter 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.[1]

As of July 2023, Forbes estimates Coates's net worth at $7.7 billion.[2] In 2020, she earned a salary of £422 million and dividends of £48 million.[3] As of 2021, she has been the highest paid chief executive in Britain for several years,[3] and is one of the wealthiest women in Britain, according to the Sunday Times Rich list.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April 2011


In January 2000, Coates purchased the domain name[7] 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.[8]

Coates owns around half of Bet365. Her personal fortune is estimated at $5.2 billion, as of December 2022.[9]

Coates is unusual amongst high-net-worth individuals in taking the majority of her income as salary rather than dividends. In 2018 she was the highest paid woman in the world.[10] She was the highest taxpayer in Britain from 2019-2022.[11][12] 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."[13] 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."[14] Her salary of £421 million in 2020 was 50% higher than it was in 2019, and higher than all FTSE 100 Index CEOs combined.[3]

Denise Coates Foundation[edit]

Coates set up the Bet365 Foundation in August 2012. In February 2016 it was renamed Denise Coates Foundation. It is a registered charity under English law[15] and it donated £100 million[16] to twenty UK charities as of 2014. In 2022 the charity donated £1 million to help families in Ukraine.[17]

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.[18][19]

The Foundation pledged £230,000[20] 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 a donation of £235,000 was made by the foundation to The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme for essential refurbishment and redevelopment.[21][22]

In April 2020 Coates donated £10 million through her foundation to University Hospitals of North Midlands to support staff fighting coronavirus.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Coates is married to Richard Smith, and they live in Betchton near Sandbach, Cheshire.[5][13] She drives an Aston Martin with personalised number plates bearing her initials.[7]

They have five children, four of whom were reported in March 2014 as being "recently adopted from the same family".[6][9][24]

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.[25] In 2012, she received an honorary doctorate from Staffordshire University.[5]

In 2013, Coates was named as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[26]

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.[27]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "Denise Coates". Forbes. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "Bet365 boss earns £469m in a single year". BBC News. 31 March 2021. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  4. ^ "The Sunday Times Rich List 2020: The 10 richest women in Britain". 17 May 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Denise Coates CBE". Staffordshire University. Archived from the original on 29 April 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b Pagano, Margareta (4 March 2014). "Against the odds: Denise Coates's good fortune". The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  7. ^ a b Bowers, Simon (8 June 2010). "Denise Coates: the hidden 24/7 woman behind Bet365". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  8. ^ correspondent, Rupert Neate Wealth (21 November 2018). "Bet365 founder paid herself an 'obscene' £265m in 2017". The Guardian – via
  9. ^ a b "Forbes profile: Denise Coates". Forbes. Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  10. ^ Davies, Rob (24 November 2018). "Meet Denise Coates, the best paid woman in the world". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  11. ^ Chapman, Ben (29 January 2021). "Tax system 'not fit for purpose', says think tank as". The Independent. Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  12. ^ Neate, Rupert; correspondent, Rupert Neate Wealth (28 January 2022). "Head of Bet365 gambling firm Denise Coates tops list of UK's biggest taxpayers". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "UK's best-paid boss earns £265m". BBC News. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  15. ^ "DENISE COATES FOUNDATION, registered charity no. 1149110". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  16. ^ Bowers, Simon (11 July 2014). "Bet365's Denise Coates sets up £100m charity foundation". The Guardian – via
  17. ^ Watson, Laura (31 March 2022). "bet365 Denise Coates charity donates £1m to Ukraine appeal". StokeonTrentLive. Retrieved 1 December 2022.
  18. ^ "Denise Coates Foundation awards a hundred bursaries to Staffordshire University students". Staffordshire University. Archived from the original on 23 July 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  19. ^ "ewb". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Bet365 Foundation Donation". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  21. ^ Elliott, Louise (29 June 2020). "North Staffordshire theatre set to undergo £750,000 refurbishment". stokesentinel. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Bet365 boss donates £10m to NHS for coronavirus". BBC News. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  24. ^ Evans, Peter (12 November 2017). "Bet365 co-founder Denise Coates's £200m payday". The Times. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Denise Coates is among those named in New Year Honours". BBC News. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Denise Coates CBE". BBC. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  27. ^ "SBC announces new inductees to Sports Betting Hall of Fame". SBC News. 30 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.