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How Did Denise Coates Make Half a Billion...In a Year!
If you gamble, if you enjoy sport, and if you read the business news, you will certainly have heard of Denise Coates. The joint Chief Executive of Bet365 received a record pay packet of almost £421 million last year from the Stock-on-Trent based business of which her family owns 93%. The 53-year old certainly doesn't set out to court media attention but the enormous, some would argue obscene, payout for 2020 does rather grab attention. If you add together the remuneration packages for all the FTSE 100 CEOs, it’s pretty much the same amount that one Denise Coates salts away for a year’s toil.

But Bet365 doesn’t need the rubber stamp of a remuneration committee to decide Denise’s pay packet because it remains a family business at heart. When Denise and her brother were unable to raise capital in the era of the dotcom crash, they decided to take out a £15million loan using the family’s betting shops and other family assets as collateral. This enormous gamble has paid off big-time over the ensuing twenty years as the business has rapidly developed on a national and international basis, and also means that the family retains control over all aspects of the business including the remuneration of Ms Coates at over £1 million a day.

The secret to Bet365’s success is, quite simply, the fact that it gives customers what they want and when they want it. The visionary decision of the Coates clan to invest heavily in its digital gambling platform, with the Bet365 launch in 2001, was allied with an inspired HR strategy to develop in-house expertise across the company and a constant focus on customers’ needs.

Bet365 has always focused on what sports punters really wanted and that was fast payouts, according to It also aimed to offer better odds than its rivals, and its marketing of offers remains unsurpassed with the use of Cockney geezer Ray Winstone in a series of engaging advertisements considered a masterstroke by many in the industry.

Bet365 pioneered in-play betting which accounts for 75% of its sports revenue and was one of the first gambling companies to offer its services on mobile phones. Another hook for its customers is the enormous range of streamed sports the company offers; in order to watch an event “free” on your laptop, tablet or mobile, you are asked to deposit cash into your account or place a bet.

Since its inception, the company has extended its operations with gambling licences in 14 countries, often reducing its margins to increase market share, and Bet365 is now poised to crack the United States through its alliance with Empire Resorts. There is a continued theme of calculated risk-taking (something a PLC would struggle to justify to shareholders) with, for example, bets being taken from “grey markets” - untaxed or unregulated jurisdictions where profit margins are higher.

Bet365’s CEO Denise Coates is an entrepreneur on a grand scale and she is reaping the rewards of over twenty years of ambition and sheer graft. Admirers compare her to Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. However, many politicians and social commentators in the United Kingdom are troubled by the tech-led boom in gambling and believe that problem gamblers require more protection via increased regulation. For detractors of the gambling industry, Denise Coates’s take-home pay is a sign of a troubled society and she should be condemned rather than admired. Whatever your viewpoint, there is no doubt that Bet365 has been enormously successful in the past two decades and Denise Coates remains the lynchpin of the business. .


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