As of 2021, Denise Coates’s net worth is, according to Forbes,$5.8bn or £4.4bn. This astounding sum unsurprisingly makes Coates and her husband, Richard Smith, two of the wealthiest people in the UK and indeed the world. Coates is a very private individual who rarely gives interviews and often only appears at public events to donate huge amounts of money through her philanthropic efforts.
On the outside, Coates and Smith appear to be a very normal couple and could easily be mistaken for schoolteachers or office workers. However, they certainly live a lavish lifestyle that fits their huge amount of wealth.
So, how did she make her mammoth amount of money? It was a combination of luck, family money and support, and being in the right place at the right time.
Denise Coates’s early life and private life
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Coates’s story is not a rags-to-riches story, but rather, as is so often the case, a riches-to-even-more-riches story. She is the eldest daughter of Peter Coates, an English businessman and co-founder of Bet365. He is also the chairman of Stoke City Football Club and he has been listed as among the 25 richest people involved in football.
Peter Coates left school at the age of14 in order to work and help support his parents and 13 siblings. He gained experience in the restaurant industry as he grew up and founded the company Stadia Catering, a catering company that specifically served sporting events at football grounds. He later merged with another catering company and used the revenue to buy a chain of betting shops called Provincial Racing. These shops would be the precursor to the Bet365 mega-empire.
Coates grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and earned her degree in economics at the University of Sheffield. She worked at her father’s company, Provincial Racing, as a manager and accountant, and in 2000,she recognized an opportunity in the new world of the internet. It was then that she purchased the domain name Bet365.com.
Denise Coates’scareer and net worth
In 2001, Bet365 was launched as an online betting shop and the business swiftly took off. By 2016, Bet365 had become one of the world’s biggest and most successful online gambling companies. Coates runs the company as a co-CEO with her brother John Coates, and the company management is kept strictly in the family.
Coates is the majority shareholder with 50.01% of the company. She has been criticized in the press and by NGOs for paying herself increasingly large salaries to the point of absurdity. In 2017, she paid herself £217m as an annual salary, and in 2018, that sum jumped to £265m. In 2020, her salary of £421m was nearly a 50% increase from her 2019 salary. Her salary is almost as high as all FTSE 100 Index CEO salaries combined.
The reason why Coates is able to pay herself such salaries is that the company is not publicly listed and instead is a private company. As a result, she does not have to answer to board members or any other form of oversight.
The online gambling industry
Coates was certainly in the right place at the right time when she decided to put all of her chips onto the online casino square. The online casino industry was really just getting started when she took the family business online, and by getting in early, she was able to stake out a place for the Bet365 brand.
The online casino industry has been around for decades, but it has become increasingly popular over the last seven to eight years. The industry is now incredibly competitive and hundreds of online casinos are competing for the attention of prospective gamblers –the best online casinos attract theattention of gamblers through their bonus offers, seasonal promotions, extensive libraries of games, and platform security and usability.
One of the reasons why the online gambling industry started to grow in popularity is because the tech improved to such a degree that the casino platforms became easier to use. Many people were skeptical of how the gambling experience would translate to a digital medium and, at first, it was an awkward fit as many games were difficult to play online.
However, the technology steadily advanced, and now gamblers can play live casino games, slot games with advanced sound effects and visuals, and every type of table game. The platforms are also now very secure and safe to use and also, importantly, easy to navigate.
Controversies and conflicts
Unsurprisingly, controversy has followed Coates and her family. Managing a gambling company has led many people to criticize them for not providing enough responsible gambling resources. On top of this, the immense paychecksthat the family award themselves are obviously jarring for many.
Coates owns a number of luxury properties, including a millhouse that she bought in 2016 for £1.5m. She converted the property into a hyper-luxurious estate complete with tennis courts, stables, gardens, workers’ cottages and an artificial lake. She also enjoys collecting luxury vehicles, and she has a personal-plated Aston Martin DB9 along with a family helicopter.
Coates also has a £1.3m converted luxury barnthat looks out over an L-shaped swimming pool. This converted barn is located on her father’s sprawling estate, which is near to her other home.
The family avoids publicity and interviews with the media, so you will not find photos of them at flashy nightclubs or hobnobbing with the rich and famous. Rather, they are fairly secretive and private and enjoy their secluded luxury estates in Stoke.