Bet365 boss irks neighbours by buying up homes for £90million estate
4th December 2018

What can £265million a year buy you? Bet365 boss and world’s highest paid businesswoman unveils plans for £90m estate with glass house and tennis court after buying out neighbours with ‘silly money’

  • Denise Coates, 51, has been ‘offering huge sums to neighbours to move out’ of their family farmhouses
  • The Bet365 boss is building a £90million modern estate in Cheshire for her family, including five children
  • Home includes a boat and lake house, stables and a statement glass house, as well as a sunken tennis court

She gambled her father’s shop that the internet was the future for betting- and the bold move, made from a car park in Stoke-on-Trent – made her the highest paid businesswoman in the world. Now, Denise Coates is set to spend a fortune on a giant £90million estate – but the wealthy woman’s dream home is causing a nightmare for neighbours in a small English village.

Gambling queen Denise Coates has been splashing the cash on the 52 acre estate by offering ‘stupid money’ to surrounding homes – to get rid of the neighbours of her ‘modern country home’.

The Bet365 boss, who earned £265million last year, had been living in a converted barnhouse and was locally popular thanks to charitable donations to local causes.

But when the 51-year-old mother-of-five began clearing the way for her dream estate with a ‘sunken tennis court’ and a ‘lake and boat house’ to surround a statement glass home – neighbours began to complain.

Mrs Coates gave huge sums to farmers in homes around the original plot – a home which cost her £1.4million. However, the original buildings have been bulldozed to make way for the ‘statement’ home.

The huge glass building is costing the Coates family millions. The multi-millionaire Bet365 boss has caused controversy over making money while people’s gambling debts spiral out of control 

According to locals as many as 30 construction lorries per day are coming down country lanes to bring materials to the sprawling site

The huge statement glass home is being built after planning permission was granted in 2017 for the giant estate on 52 acres

Mrs Coates, pictured with her father Peter, who is also a director of her betting company. Mrs Coates made millions when she mortgaged her father’s gambling shop

One family is said to have refused to move but when plans were approved in 2017 for the estate which surrounded their own house on three sides – they relented and sold up.

Last year, when permission was granted a family who refused to move told the Daily Mail they were not going to give in.

‘It seems that Denise Coates wants to be the lady of the manor around here, and with all the money she’s got she must think she can buy anything,’ one woman said. 

‘But my husband was born in this house, my family live here very happily, and we’re staying put.

‘I think the way she earns her money is immoral, disgraceful. People get addicted (to gambling) and it puts pressure on them. They can lose their family and their home.’ 

Another person told The Times: ‘They offered us too much and we couldn’t refuse. It was stupid money.’

Jean Batchelor, 77, said the betting boss is also causing family rifts – because children want to sell and take the big money on the table but their parents want to stay put.

The betting queen has been hit with the backlash from locals while she has also sparked national controversy. 

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Architects Foster and Partners are behind the build – although the world renowned firm usually sticks to gigantic commercial projects 

The estate will include a walled garden, a lake and boat house and stables. The family has five children, four of whom were adopted from the same family

The incredible home also includes a glass lake house on the water, built down from the home on the 52 acre site owned by the Coates family 

A walled garden and a sunken tennis court are also being constructed as glass outbuildings and even a glass lake house have been added to the modern estate

How Denise Coates awarded herself aNINE-figure pay packet

Denise Coates bought the domain name bet365 on eBay in 2001 for £20,000 and began operating a betting business from a portable cabin in Stoke. 

Mrs Coates completed the move from the portakabin office, borrowing £15m from the Royal Bank of Scotland secured on her family’s estate of betting shops.

And the move paid off.  

Mrs Coates is now the majority shareholder in Bet365, a global company which has benefited from tighter regulations on the industry in other countries. 

Last year, the former University of Sheffield student who graduated with a first class degree, was paid £265million. 

The bulk of her pay increase was due to a jump the salaries her company decided to pay out this year. It increased overall wages from £490m to £646m. 

The family’s fortune was estimated at £5 billion in the latest Sunday Times ‘Rich List’ and the betting firm’s £30million HQ employs thousands in Stoke. 

The business said it had ‘increased remuneration for individuals that have been key to the development of the overarching corporate strategy’.

She then took a large share of the £90m paid out in dividends, £80m of which went to four directors of the company, which include Mrs Coates.

Mrs Coates and her husband remain fiercely private and refuse to discuss their private lives, or backgrounds.

The pair set up a £185 million charitable foundation funding a variety of worthy causes at home and overseas. It provides bursaries for less well-off students, supports a hospice for cancer sufferers and has helped victims of natural disasters. 

They have one child of their own and adopted four girls from the same family. 

The boss of gambling firm Bet365 has been accused of ‘living off the misery of others’ after her salary rose to £265million, making her one of the highest-paid executives in the world.

Critics called her earnings ‘obscene’ and ‘disgusting’, after it emerged the number of problem gamblers aged 11 to 16 had quadrupled in two years to 55,000. 

Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘From gambling to alcohol to drug misuse we face an addiction crisis.

‘Services are slashed, mental health services neglected. Lives are ruins while the CEO of a betting company is paid 22 times more than the whole industry ‘donates’ to treatment. Disgusting.’

The home at the centre of the row has been designed by Sir Norman Foster’s company and will include stables, a gate house and parkland behind 2m high security fences.

Other families have said they are upset over the huge lorries delivering to the house.

Up to 30 construction lorries a day travelling down country lanes, they said. One local businesswoman said her elderly mother “is in tears everyday” over the chaos caused by the lorries which she said tore up grass verges.

The council also agreed to close a public road for up to two years.

According to the documents submitted to the council the creation of the estate will generate 12 jobs, including an estate manager and other staff. 

World renowned architects Foster and Partners are also involved. Projects with their signature on include Kuwait international airport and the proposed Tulip skyscraper in central London.

Mrs Coates made millions when she mortgaged her father’s betting shop in 2001 and took the business online – before building the Bet365 empire.

Last year, more than £50billion was placed in stakes on the website started by the former Sheffield University student. 

Her fellow executives at the bookmaker include her husband, childhood sweetheart Richard Smith, who serves as group property director, as well her father Peter and her brother John.

She and her husband met at university where she earned a first class degree in econometrics in the 1980s.

Returning to Stoke to work for her father’s company as an accountant, she saw the potential in internet gambling and convinced her family to mortgage all their betting shops to build an online business.

She then bought the Bet365 domain name for around £20,000.

She and her husband adopted four girls from the same family a few years ago and they also have a child of their own, but she had been described as ‘reclusive’ after keeping her home life well away from the limelight.

Neighbours say they have been offered ‘stupid money’ for their farmland so the dream estate of the Coates family can be extended and wrapped in a 2m high security fence

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