Is Denise Coates Beneficial for the Sports Betting Industry?

Denise Coates, the founder and CEO of Bet365, is one of the most successful businesswomen in the world. Her company has revolutionized the sports betting industry, becoming one of the largest and most profitable online gambling platforms in the world. However, with her vast fortune and immense power, many have raised questions about whether Coates is good for the sports betting industry.

Coates has been praised for her business acumen and her contributions to the UK economy. She has created thousands of jobs and her company has generated billions in revenue. However, some critics argue that the gambling industry is inherently harmful and that Coates’ success is built on the backs of vulnerable individuals who suffer from addiction and financial ruin.

Despite the controversies surrounding her industry, Coates has remained a prominent figure in the world of business and philanthropy. Her contributions to charity and her efforts to promote responsible gambling have earned her praise from many quarters. However, the question remains: is Denise Coates good for the sports betting industry, and by extension, society as a whole?

Key Takeaways

  • Denise Coates is the founder and CEO of Bet365, one of the largest and most profitable online gambling platforms in the world.
  • Coates’ success has generated controversy and criticism, with some arguing that the gambling industry is inherently harmful.
  • Despite these controversies, Coates has remained a prominent figure in the world of business and philanthropy, with her contributions to charity and responsible gambling earning her praise from many quarters.

Early Life and Career

Education and Early Jobs

Denise Coates was born on 26 September 1967 in Stoke-on-Trent, England. She grew up in a family that was deeply involved in the betting industry. Her father, Peter Coates, was the owner of a chain of betting shops called Provincial Racing. Denise Coates attended the University of Sheffield, where she earned a degree in econometrics. After completing her studies, she worked as a professional accountant for several years.

Inception of Bet365

In 2000, Denise Coates decided to launch her own online gambling business, Bet365. She had the idea for the business after noticing the potential of online gambling while working at her father’s betting shops. She purchased the domain name and invested heavily in the development of the website. The website went live in March 2001, offering a range of sports betting options.

Role as Managing Director

Denise Coates served as the managing director of Bet365 for several years. During this time, she oversaw the growth of the company from a small startup to a global leader in online gambling. She was instrumental in the development of new products and services, including the introduction of in-play betting. In 2016, Denise Coates stepped down as managing director of Bet365 and was replaced by her brother, John Coates. She remains a major shareholder in the company and serves as co-CEO alongside her brother.

Denise Coates’ early experiences in the betting industry and her background in finance and accounting were key factors in the success of Bet365. Her vision and leadership helped to transform the sports betting industry and establish Bet365 as a major player in the online gambling market.

Bet365’s Success Under Coates

Financial Performance

Denise Coates’ leadership has resulted in Bet365 becoming one of the most successful sports betting companies in the world. The company’s financial performance has been impressive, with Bet365 reporting a revenue of £2.81 billion for the year ending March 2020. The company’s profits before tax were £767 million, and its operating profit was £758 million.

Bet365’s success has not only led to high profits but also significant dividends for its shareholders. In 2020, the company paid out £607 million in dividends, with Denise Coates herself receiving £276 million. The company’s accounts show that Denise Coates’ salary increased to £421 million in the year ending March 2021, making her the highest-paid director in the UK.

Expansion and Diversification

Under Denise Coates’ leadership, Bet365 has expanded its operations and diversified its offerings. The company has moved beyond its core business of online sports betting and has ventured into other areas, including online casino games, poker, and bingo. The company’s online games revenues have also been on the rise, with the segment accounting for a significant portion of Bet365’s overall revenue.

Bet365 has also expanded its operations beyond the UK and now has a presence in several countries worldwide. The company has made significant investments in technology, including the development of its own proprietary software, which has helped it to maintain a competitive edge in the market.

Overall, Bet365’s success under Denise Coates’ leadership can be attributed to the company’s focus on innovation, technology, and customer experience. The company’s financial performance has been impressive, and its expansion and diversification have helped it to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded market.

Coates as a Businesswoman

Net Worth and Salary

Denise Coates is a self-made businesswoman and entrepreneur who founded Bet365, an online gambling company that has grown into a multi-billion-pound empire. As of July 2023, Forbes estimates Coates’s net worth at $7.7 billion, making her one of the wealthiest people in the UK.

Coates’s success has also translated into a high salary. In 2020, she earned a salary of £422 million and dividends of £48 million, according to the High Pay Centre. This made her the UK’s highest-paid executive that year, and the first to earn more than £400 million in a single year.

Investments and Ventures

Coates has not only built a successful business but has also made strategic investments and ventures. In 2016, she invested £5 million in a venture capital fund called Balderton Capital, which has invested in companies such as Revolut and Citymapper.

In 2018, Coates also invested £100 million in Aston Martin, a British luxury car manufacturer. Her investment helped the company to raise funds and expand its product line.

Coates’s success as a businesswoman has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including a CBE in 2012 for services to the community and business. Her story has also inspired many women and men alike, showing that with determination and hard work, anything is possible.

Overall, Coates’s success as a businesswoman and entrepreneur has been impressive, and her strategic investments and ventures have helped to diversify her portfolio and expand her influence in the business world.

Philanthropy and Contributions

Denise Coates Foundation

Denise Coates, the founder of Bet365, has set up the Denise Coates Foundation, a £100m charitable foundation. The foundation focuses on supporting a range of charitable causes, including education, health, arts, and sports. The foundation aims to make a significant impact on the communities in which it operates. The foundation has made several donations to various charities, including the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, and the Peter Pan Centre.

Support for Stoke City Football Club

Denise Coates and her family have been long-time supporters of Stoke City Football Club. The Coates family has owned the club since 2006 and has invested heavily in the club’s infrastructure and facilities. The family has also been supportive of the club’s community initiatives, which aim to engage with local residents and promote sports participation.

In addition to owning the club, the Coates family has also made significant financial contributions to the club. In 2022, the family donated £1.5m to the club’s academy, which will help develop young players and provide them with the necessary resources to succeed. The family has also invested in the club’s stadium and training facilities, which have helped the club attract top talent and compete at the highest level.

Overall, Denise Coates and her family have made significant contributions to the sports industry, both through their ownership of Stoke City Football Club and their philanthropic efforts. Their support for local communities and charitable causes has made a positive impact on the lives of many people.

Controversies and Criticisms

Denise Coates, the billionaire founder of Bet365, has faced several controversies and criticisms over the years. This section will explore some of the most notable ones.

High Pay Controversy

Coates has faced criticism for her high pay. In 2018, she took home a pay package of about £300m, which was £170m less than the previous year. Her salary was also 9,500 times higher than the average UK salary. This has led to questions about whether such high pay is justified, especially given the ongoing debate about income inequality.

Gambling-Related Harm

Bet365 has been accused of contributing to gambling-related harm. In 2019, a study by the UK Gambling Commission found that 10% of online gamblers account for 58% of all losses. This has led to calls for stricter regulations on online gambling, including limits on advertising and the use of credit cards.

Coates has also faced criticism for her company’s advertising practices. In 2018, the UK government released a white paper on gambling that called for tighter restrictions on gambling ads. The paper suggested that ads should not be shown during live sports events and that there should be a “whistle-to-whistle” ban on all gambling ads during live sports broadcasts.

Bet365 has also faced criticism for its use of “VIP” schemes, which offer perks to high-spending customers. Critics argue that these schemes encourage problem gambling and contribute to gambling-related harm.

Overall, while Coates has been successful in building Bet365 into one of the largest online gambling firms in the world, she has also faced criticism for her company’s impact on the gambling industry and society as a whole.

Privacy and Personal Life

Denise Coates is known for being a very private person. She rarely attends events in an official capacity and only conducts interviews via email. Furthermore, she is renowned for protecting her privacy and shunning the limelight.

Despite her status as one of the UK’s top financial elite, Coates maintains a low-key private life. She is married and has five children. Her husband, Richard Smith, is the joint chief executive of Bet365.

Coates is also known for her philanthropy. In 2012, she donated £5 million to the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in Stoke-on-Trent, where Bet365 is based. The donation was the largest ever made to the hospice. In addition, Coates has donated millions of pounds to various charities and causes over the years.

Overall, while Coates is a highly successful businesswoman, she is also a private individual who values her personal life and privacy. Her philanthropy and charitable work demonstrate her commitment to giving back to her community.


In conclusion, Denise Coates has made a significant impact on the sports betting industry through her leadership at Bet365. She has been instrumental in transforming the company into one of the largest online betting platforms in the world. Coates’ innovative approach to in-play markets has changed the way people consume sport, and she has been recognised for her success with multiple awards.

Despite the success of Bet365, there have been criticisms of the company’s practices, including allegations of promoting gambling addiction. However, it is important to note that these issues are not unique to Bet365 and are prevalent across the industry.

Overall, Denise Coates’ contribution to the sports betting industry cannot be ignored. She has demonstrated her expertise and business acumen through the growth of Bet365, and her impact on the industry is undeniable. While there are valid concerns about the effects of gambling, it is important to recognise the positive impact that Coates and Bet365 have had on the industry and the wider economy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What impact has Denise Coates had on the sports betting industry?

Denise Coates has been instrumental in revolutionising the sports betting industry. Her vision and determination have transformed Bet365 from a small online bookmaker to a global gambling giant. Under her leadership, the company has become one of the most successful and profitable businesses in the industry. Coates’ innovative approach to online betting has set the standard for other operators to follow, and her influence can be seen in the way that the industry has evolved over the past decade.

How has Denise Coates contributed to the growth of Bet365?

Denise Coates has been the driving force behind the growth of Bet365. She started the company in 2000 with just a handful of employees, and has since grown it into a global operation with over 4,000 staff. Coates’ focus on innovation and customer service has been key to the company’s success, and she has invested heavily in technology to ensure that Bet365 remains at the forefront of the industry. Coates’ leadership has also been instrumental in the company’s expansion into new markets, including the US and Asia.

What is the management style of Denise Coates and how has it affected Bet365?

Denise Coates is known for her hands-on management style, and she is involved in every aspect of the business. Her attention to detail and focus on customer service have helped to create a culture of excellence at Bet365. Coates is also committed to investing in her staff, and she has created a supportive working environment that encourages innovation and creativity. Her management style has helped to create a motivated and engaged workforce, which has been key to the company’s success.

What is Denise Coates’ vision for the future of Bet365?

Denise Coates’ vision for the future of Bet365 is focused on continued growth and innovation. She is committed to investing in technology to ensure that the company remains at the forefront of the industry, and she is exploring new markets and opportunities for expansion. Coates is also committed to maintaining the company’s focus on customer service, and she believes that this will be key to the company’s success in the future.

What are the challenges faced by Denise Coates as CEO of Bet365?

As CEO of Bet365, Denise Coates faces a number of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is regulatory compliance, as the gambling industry is heavily regulated in many countries. Coates is also faced with the challenge of maintaining the company’s growth and profitability in an increasingly competitive market. Additionally, Coates must navigate the complex legal and regulatory landscape in the US as the company expands into this market.

How has Denise Coates’ leadership impacted the culture of Bet365?

Denise Coates’ leadership has had a significant impact on the culture of Bet365. Her focus on innovation, customer service, and investment in staff has created a culture of excellence at the company. Coates’ hands-on management style has also helped to create a supportive and collaborative working environment, which has been key to the company’s success. The company’s commitment to social responsibility and responsible gambling can also be attributed to Coates’ leadership.

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