Former University of Sheffield student named as one of UK's 25 female billionaires

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A businesswoman who studied at the University of Sheffield has been named as one of the UK’s 25 female billionaires.

Denise Coates, 52, the founder and joint chief executive of online gambling company Bet365, was among the women on this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, which announced the record number of female billionaires in the UK.

Last year Ms Coates awarded herself a record £323m pay packet to ensure she made her way to fifth on the billionaire list.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Her fortune now amounts to nearly £7.2bn to her name. This is £310m more than her recorded wealth last year.

Bet365 Chief Executive Denise Coates poses with her Commander of the British Empire (CBE) medal. (Photo by Sean Dempsey - WPA Pool/Getty Images)Bet365 Chief Executive Denise Coates poses with her Commander of the British Empire (CBE) medal. (Photo by Sean Dempsey - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Bet365 Chief Executive Denise Coates poses with her Commander of the British Empire (CBE) medal. (Photo by Sean Dempsey - WPA Pool/Getty Images) | 2012 Getty Images

Bet365 is owned jointly by Ms Coates and members of her direct family, including her brother John, who is joint chief executive, and her father Peter, the firm's chairman.

Ms Coates earned a first-class degree in econometrics - the application of statistical methods to economic data - from Sheffield University before joining the high street betting firm.

She identified the potential of online gambling in 2000 and invested in the domain name Bet365.com so that she could drive the family business in that direction.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bet365 made a profit before tax of £791m in the last financial year, compared with £661m the year before.

The firm paid dividends of £92.5m, half of which are thought to have gone to Ms Coates.

Ms Coates, a mother of five, is very private and little is known about her family life.

Bet365 also employs her husband, Richard Smith, who serves as group property director.

The pair met at Sheffield University in the 1980s.