Bet365 Family Among UK’s Wealthiest

bet365Denise Coates and her brother John are Co-CEOs of the Bet365 online bookmaker and casino. Their father Peter serves as Chairman. Their total wealth is estimated at 3.8 billion pounds. The company reported netting 400 million pounds in profit in 2015, making it one of the world’s largest online gambling sites. It takes in around 12 billion pounds in bets annually. It also owns controlling interest in the Stoke City Football Club. Peter Coates serves as chairman of the football club. Her husband also works the football club. The combined family members control 93 percent of Bet365. Denise herself owns 50.01 percent.

That makes them the highest gambling industry tycoons in Great Britain. Former owner of PokerStars, Mark Sheinberg, ranks 38th in the richlist, with an estimated wealth of 2.9 billion pounds. Teddy Sagi, the founder of Playtech plc, ranks 44th in the Richlist, with 2.5 billion pounds. Brothers Fred and Peter Done, the owners of online bookmaker Betfred, rank 82nd with a combined net worth of 1.3 billion pounds.

Denise Coates began Bet365 when she owned a string of regional bookmaking shops, then grew the brand into a major gambling power. She started out while still attending college at the University of Sheffield, marking up bets in the cashiers department of the family business, Provincial Racing. That firm was just a sideline to her father’s main business, which was catering to football stadiums. She graduated with a degree and a first in econometrics. Making money from gambling appealed to her mathematical mind. After some training as an accountant, she took over a small chain of betting shops. She turned their businesses around, and then bought up a similar chain of betting shops using a loan from Barclays. That doubled the size of her business.

She decided to move online because that was where the future lay, so she purchased the domain name in January 2000. She could not obtain money from venture capitalists, but her father, other family members and the Royal Bank of Scotland did back her. She also used 15 million pounds borrowed from RBS against the family’s estate of betting shops. She launched Bet365 in 2001. Later, she sold those betting shops to the large bookmaker Coral for $40 million pounds. In 2015 the company moved its gambling operations to Gibraltar.

Besides the Times Richlist, Denise is also on FORBES magazine’s list of wealthiest individuals. In 2013, Women’s Hour at BBC Radio named her one of the most powerful women in Great Britain. She’s also called Britain’s richest self-made woman. She lives in Stoke-on-Trent, where Bet365 is the largest private employer, and has five children.

Several years ago she told The Guardian she didn’t think about the implications of being a woman at the head of the tradionally male-dominated bookmaking industry. She just wanted to get on with the job of making the business successful.