Denise Coates knows how to make money from sports betting.
Last year, she earned £265 million ($338 million) as the boss of online sports betting giant, bet365.
That’s a lot more than she earned in 2016. Coates only took home £217 million ($276 million) that year.
She is the most highly paid chief executive in the UK and in January 2012, Coates was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by the Queen.
Forbes lists her real-time net worth as $3.7 billion as of Nov. 27, 2018.
Coates earned her money the hard way
Coates founded bet365 and owns 50.01 percent of the company, giving her absolute control.
She built it from scratch, buying the domain name in January 2000, and creating one of the largest online gambling companies in the world.
Bet365 is truly a family company. Fully 93 percent of the shares are owned by her family, including her father, Sir Peter Coates.
Dad is the son of a coal miner and a serial entrepreneur, who left school at 14.
He founded a chain of betting shops in 1974 and had enough confidence in his daughter to pledge them as collateral for a £15 million ($19 million) loan to help bet365 expand.
Sir Peter is chairman of bet365, but it is Denise Coates who has masterminded the company’s incredible success.
Bet365 is coming to New Jersey
As early as June 19 this year, bet365 signed a deal with the Hard Rock Atlantic City. Note that that was before the Hard Rock opened for business June 28.
So far bet365 has not launched in New Jersey. The company has to go through the necessary approvals to get a gaming license from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
Once approved, bet365 should launch under its brand, offering sports betting and possibly online casino to New Jersey customers.
Given the predominance of bet365 in many national sports betting markets around the world, New Jersey can expect a strong new competitor.
Bet365 is the largest online sports betting operator in Europe and is No. 1 in regulated markets such as Italy.
And to New York
Three weeks ago, bet365 and Empire Resorts announced a complex deal that will see bet365 run a sportsbook at the Resorts World Catskills casino in New York.
If all goes to plan, bet365 will become Empire’s second-largest shareholder. Not only will Empire get a highly competent partner, but it will also have one with deep pockets if a future investment is required.
Online sports betting isn’t yet permitted in New York, but there’s some hope that the legislature could get to it in 2019.
Talk about a strategic deal.
Bet365 gets a foothold in the sports betting market in the fourth most populous US state. Add this to experience in online sports betting in New Jersey and bet365 would make an attractive partner for any casinos in states where sports betting becomes legal.
And of course, it will be in prime position if New York does allow online sports betting.
Bet365 has a unique record of compliance
The UK government thought it was getting a grip on gambling back when it passed the Gambling Act of 2005.
The actual effect of the bill was to push all UK online gaming companies to relocate offshore. Gibraltar, Malta and the Isle of Man became hosts to such big names as Ladbrokes, William Hill, partypoker and 888.
Only one major online gaming company stayed in the UK — and paid the extra gaming taxes that implied — bet365.
The law was changed in 2014, but Denise Coates insistence that the company stays headquartered in the UK has paid off in respectability.
The company is the largest employer in its home city of Stoke on Trent, and Peter Coates is the Chairman and owner of the local soccer club, Stoke City.
Bet365 is a family company with deep local roots. Something unique in the current sports betting corporate environment.
There’s more money to be made in US sports betting
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming forecasts $442 million (£340 million) in New Jersey annual gaming revenue by the end of 2021.
Not bad for a state with fewer than 10 million inhabitants. Multiply that by all the other states that might introduce sports betting and the market is large by any standards.
The entire gaming industry is currently looking at how to take a slice of this sports betting pie. Despite her eye-watering pay packet, Denise Coates is looking hungry for a big juicy piece of American pie.
I wouldn’t bet against her.