Both firms started out as tiny acorns in 2001 but Bet365, after a far more difficult infancy, is now the dominant operation in terms of profits and, it could be argued, potential.
It’s worked so far. They were always set up for a flotation and if that’s your strategy then it’s crucial you attract the attention of the business world and beyond.
What, you may ask, makes her deserving of such an accolade? You may vaguely know the name. “Betfair came up with a unique offering and their corporate PR was excellent. Meet Denise Coates. This paper recently ran a series called Legendary Bookmakers. She owns 50.1 per cent of this hugely successful business and is, by any criterion you may care to use, the boss.
Instead, she’s happy to pull the strings in Bet365′s headquarters, on an industrial estate in Stoke-On-Trent, and grow the business. Isn’t she something to do with Bet365, the company owned and run by Peter Coates, or is it John Coates? It’s actually Denise. They have a payroll of 1,700 people, mainly in Stoke, plus another 800 at Stoke City FC, which the company owns, and are the biggest local employer outside the council, a much-needed boost in an area where jobs are scarce compared to the days, just after World War II, when some 80,0 people worked in the pottery industry. . “As flotation was never an aim of ours we have been able to just focus on the business itself.”
That so little is known about someone who heads up what was, until the merger of Bwin and PartyGaming in 2009, the world’s largest online betting and gaming company is down in small part to the misconception that Peter (her father) and John (her brother) are in charge and mainly because she feels no inclination either to dispel that idea or give interviews per se.
Annual turnover exceeds an Continues page 14
So did it ever rankle with Coates, 44, that Bet365 attracted far less publicity during its upward curve? “Not at all,” she insists. It’s not that she’s some Garbo-esque recluse, simply that she’s got a business to run and, if truth be told, no particular need to try to impress anybody.
Byline: Bruce Millington
MEET a business phenomenon. Having started trading ten years ago, just as many other start-ups were beginning to realise the dotcom gold rush wasn’t going to be quite as easy as they’d hoped, Bet365 now make annual profits of more than pounds 100m and rising. If it gets revived in 30 years’ time Denise Coates may well feature.
It’s a starkly different approach to that adopted by the more showy online betting success story of the 21st century, Betfair
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