Bet 365 is a truly global operator in the world on online sports betting, casino, poker and slots. The company was started in 2000 by the Coates family and the brand is still privately owned and in 2017 had a turnover of £2.3b. One of the Online Betting Industry’s largest companies started off as a family run business from the working-class City of Stoke-On-Trent.
Their meteoric rise in the last 20 years is quite phenomenal and the company shows no sign of shrinking back. Bet365, now one of the largest betting companies in the world, have grown at a rapid rate. The story of how they have done so can be seen below.
What They Are Most Famous For – Sports Betting
Given their association with the likes of Stoke City Football Club and the amount of advertising money they must spend with Sky Sports, it’s hard to watch a Premier League football match in the UK and not see a bet 365 advert.
The same goes with horse racing, which without the backing of the gambling companies would struggle to exist. It’s safe to say that although they offer other forms on online gambling, bet365 sports betting is by far the strongest part of the brand.
If you want to read more about their sports betting offering then you can check out our bet365 sports betting review which goes into more detail about their sportsbook offering.
How Did It Start?
Businessman and former semi-professional footballer Peter Coates initially set up a company called Provincial Racing. The business plan was to purchase a series of failing betting shops and turn them around.
His two children, Denise and John, were employed by the company with Denise starting off as a cashier in one of the betting shops. She eventually became a manager for the whole business once graduating from University.
It was Denise who is to thank for the online monster that Bet365 is today. Online gambling was in its infancy during the late 1990s but Denise recognised that this was the future for the gambling industry. A loan from her father allowed her to purchase the URL and the company bet365.com
She then borrowed money from the still thriving Provincial Racing business to purchase the software required to run an online sportsbook. Denise was the major shareholder for the company with her father and brother also holding a large stake.
March 2001 was the date the website went live, they have not looked back since.
The market was being flooded with numerous companies like bet365 and Denise recognised the requirement to offer something different to their competitors. They took a number of steps to do this.
Firstly, they were pioneers of the free bet and welcome bonus. The offers they were providing outdone their competitors and ensured a healthy flow of new accounts were being opened on a regular basis.
Secondly, they made their sports book a worldwide one. Most online companies at this time were focused on sports in the UK and Europe. Bet365 were opening up markets across the whole globe. They also added depth to the sports they offered, offering bets on lower levels of a variety of sports.
Add to this the fact that bet365 was 24/7, 365 days a year, the site was reporting huge profits from very early on. These profits were continuously ploughed back into the company for marketing, sponsorship and new products, making bet365 something similar to the beast that you see today.
Broadening The Business
In the early 2000s, Online Poker was becoming a big deal. Bet365 recognised this and added a skin from the Microgaming Poker Network meaning they could offer Poker to their customers. They now use the iPoker Network for this, a move which they made in 2007.
By 2008 they were offering multiple other gaming options that included a variety of casino games. All of the different options on bet365 could be played on with the same wallet of money.
Their sponsorship has continuously increased in line with their success whilst they have also successfully broken into the American market. Much of this can be attributed to the purchase of Bowman Sports, a major player in American Sports Betting. This reduced the competition they were against in North America and has allowed them to thrive across the Atlantic.
Bet365 could not afford to stand still. With the introduction of the smartphone, it was obvious that this was going to be the most popular way for customers to bet.
As bet365 were now the market leader for sports betting they had to ensure they implemented this correctly. They absolutely did.
They designed a mobile-ready platform which also included live streaming of sporting events and the opportunity to bet in-play.
This has proved hugely popular and has opened up a large number of markets that were not previously possible.
The fact that you can bet in-play and on your phone has changed betting forever.
The foresight that bet365 have had over the last 20 years has ensured continued success and there seem to be no signs of this stopping. They have sold all of their betting shops and now solely function as an online business.
With the money made selling those shops, they ploughed it into the company. The result has been the most successful and comprehensive online betting site in the UK.