Bet365 – Fortune Favors The Bold
Ahh, the thrill of gambling. Goes back in time as far as the beginning of human history.
And why? What is the ancient secret that makes people put their own money at risk for a reward they might never get? – It is the adrenaline involved in not knowing the end result, but nevertheless, trying to predict it. The fear of the unknown is what makes a human being feel alive. Hard to explain it, you have to feel it. A person that requires no further explanation on the subject is Ms. Denise Coates. She understands the concept very well. In fact, she's a passionate gambler herself. The difference between her and the rest of the world is that she didn't wait for someone to create a game for her to put money on.
Here is a story of how a businesswoman put her bets on her very own jackpot. And won it.
The Numbers Illusionist
Denise Coates was born on 26th of September 1967 in Stoke, England. Her father Peter Coates was and still is the chairman of Stoke City Football Club. Her early beginnings seem humble from today's point of view, as the entrepreneur had a lot of calculations on her plate early on.
Denise reflects on the baby steps of the journey when she managed a small chain of betting shops owned by her father. They were not doing well at all, but Denise enjoyed swimming in the sea of numbers in the days before she earned her degree in econometrics from the University of Sheffield.
Before you know it, she did wonders, earning the nickname "The numbers illusionist". But it was not magic that started bringing the money in back in the late 90s. It was Denise's constant battle for the appeal of the betting shops. She made everyone focus on the image of betting, frequently reminding employees to be nice to customers.
Not long after the fortune of 'a small chain of pretty rubbish local betting shops' had turned, Coates took out a huge loan from Barclays in order to acquire a neighbouring chain. Now double the size, she made her father proud, spending the next couple of years managing the bet profits.
By the year 2000, what started as a small betting venture turned into a local betting power house, a force to be reckoned with worth 15 million pounds. As any experienced gambler will tell you, nothing is certain in the world of high risks – even higher rewards. Denise ventured on this path for the first time when she took that loan from Barclays - and she came out victorious on the other side.
The Ultimate Gambler
You might think transforming a stale unprofitable local chain of betting shops into a successful multi-million pound business is something to be cherished and proud of, right? Heck, most of us would stop there, jealously protecting our legacy.
Well, Denise isn't like most of us - her brain perceives reality in a different manner. And her gambling career has just started, in a game that back in the year 2000 didn't exist. She envisioned it - internet betting.
But don't take my word for it, take her brother's, John Coates, who in an interview famously stated – 'She just kept saying: 'This is what we're going to do, this is what we're going to do' recalling on his sister's belief that the internet is the next big thing.
Denise was standing in front of the biggest ultimate gamble she could ever face: mortgaging the 15 million pound betting shops in order to get a loan to invest into a website that would allow the ever-growing sphere of internet users to place their bets online.
Of course, Denise went for it.
Starting the Climb
She purchased a web domain called Bet365 on Ebay for 25,000 pounds, put a team of IT geniuses together and worked tirelessly for a year to get it ready. The team faced a challenge nobody had ever faced before: developing a sports-betting technology that hadn't existed until then.
The results started coming in around 2005 and they were staggering. Within five years of the launch of the site, she transformed the average gambler into a regular online punter. The fact that it was multinational only helped the already high numbers, as people from all over the world were getting involved - not just England.
By 2012, she built Bet365 into a business with a yearly revenue of £647m - and it doesn't stop there. Coates realized the potential offered by smartphones and tablets, and how they could make their site even more accessible to the public. The same team that was developing the site back at the start of the millennium, now worked with a rapid pace to develop an app that would serve the purpose of computers and laptops.
Her gamble paid off. Coates saw the internet as a possibility before anyone else did. By the time her competitors caught up, she already had regular customers going through her site trying to find the offer most suitable. And that right there is the true characteristic that takes an entrepreneur from good to great. The ability to see in the future and act on it in there and then.
It would seem that Denise knew exactly where the hidden treasure was buried. Almost as if she had been given the only map of it, right? Wrong - she had to create her own map!
The Map of Ads
You have been living under a rock if you haven't noticed a Bet365 ad in recent years. It's the reason behind the success of the company and it's what made them go from a great betting site to an incredible one.
They market their site everywhere they can, from the internet to the commercials happening in the halftime Premier League match, but Bet365 doesn't stop there. You can even see them on jerseys and the sidelines during any sports event.
They are also modernizing the betting world, as the number of female punters saw an increase in the past few years.
This is the map to the hidden treasure Denise found to work best, and as the numbers point out, she was right. By the end of 2018, the firm had a mind boggling £3bn turnover and a profit before tax of £791m.
The Victory Lap
Today, Denise owns 50% of Bet365 and is worth £9.3bn according to Forbes and is a proud member of the The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - an order of chivalry appointed to her for the services to the community and business in 2012.
Her foundation has donated upwards of £100m to more than 20 UK charities to date. Her humane nature can be witnessed by her last act of kindness, when through her foundation, she donated £10 million to university hospitals around the UK to help the staff battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Denise is an example of a hardworking, highly intelligent business woman who paved her way through life's obstacles by making smart and calculated bets when they were most needed, winning when needed most.
And after all this time, everyone is still smart enough to know - don't put your money against her!