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Bet365 Mobile Bet365 Com – Twenty years after the arrival of the bet365.com website, Intel examines the remarkable rise of the operator, which started life from a portable booth in a Stoke-on-Trent car park, and its profound impact on the gambling industry.

Bet365’s astonishing rise story is the stuff of industry legend. It was March 2001, some 12 months after the spectacular bursting of the dotcom bubble, when bet365.com began accepting bets on the internet. Dennis Coates, who bought the domain from eBay for $25,000 and took out a $15 million loan against his father Peter’s betting shops to set up the site, was sure where his family’s fortunes lay online. It was a calculated gamble he was prepared to take, and so the 33-year-old set up Bet365 from a portable booth in the inhospitable surroundings of a Stoke-on-Trent car park near one of the then popular betting shops.

Bet365 Mobile Bet365 Com

Bet365 Mobile Bet365 Com

Dennis Coates, a PhD in mathematics with a first-class honors degree in economics (applied statistics in economics), and his younger brother John have built this online startup into a global powerhouse. It also made them multi-billionaires along the way. However, twenty years ago, bet365, with its green, yellow and white kit, was another new online betting brand that emerged and fought for attention in this new environment.

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“I was convinced early on that Internet gambling would work,” Dennis Coates told a local newspaper in a rare interview. Attracting foreign investment, however, was difficult. “That’s when the dotcom bubble burst, and an Internet company that was operating at a loss was not looking for the best investment,” he said.

Chris Welch, Catena Media’s vice-president of sports, was executive marketing director of Coral Eurobet in 2001 when he was invited to the annual Betting Shop Manager of the Year awards held at a popular London hotel. At his table that evening sat a family who owned a small chain of betting shops: Peter, John and Dennis Coates.

Entering the main course, Welch heard from Coates that they had recently launched an online betting site (bet365) and had big plans for digital initiatives. Welch listened politely, but he feared the worst and advised the three to focus on their retail properties because his company was losing cash in the new online arena. In fact, the previous year internet-only brand Eurobet lost £12m on football’s Euro 2000.

“I think it was almost unthinkable for a small regional bookmaker to try to break into this space and succeed – obviously the Coates family had a different idea,” Welch said.

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20 years. Bet365 was originally a tele-betting operation back then, when advertising the latest prices and the all-important phone number on Teletext was still a thing. When Nigel Ridgway joined in 2002 to handle the phones, Bet365 had a bank of call operators taking bets and dealing with customer enquiries.

By then, the new business had moved from a temporary building into an open-plan office with a small IT department at the back of the room behind a glass partition. There was also a kitchen and office for the Coates family. “It was a real buzz; everything was going on around you,” Ridgway recalls.

One thing that would be out of place in an online bookmaker operation today – even then – is that bet365 employed tea ladies to drive drinks trolleys around the office and deliver hot drinks to staff. When Ridgway left in 2012, he had dozens on payroll to replenish his growing force of employees. “It was very British,” Ridgway notes. He said the total number of employees remained at about 25 when he first arrived, when he left. “It just grew exponentially,” he recalls. “Every year we seemed to need more space. We were able to expand the existing building and completely occupy it.”

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Online betting was definitely in its infancy in the early 2000s. According to the Office for National Statistics, approximately 36% of UK households had internet access in 2001. And those who did had to put up with slow 56k dial-up connections, data caps and crappy websites.

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The UK’s three main established retail bookmakers, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral, all launched sports betting sites before bet365 launched in March 2001. In fact, William Hill’s online sportsbook, willhill.com, first launched in 1998 (Winery). California was the first to use WilliamHill.com). However, bet365 would eventually overtake these household names to become a truly global giant in digital sports betting.

“You don’t have to be the first to be the best,” says Mark Blandford, who owned a chain of betting shops such as Coates before launching online bookmaker Sportingbet in 1998. Market and competition and identifying opportunities to improve them in the market. I think Dennis did just that.”

Bet365 has focused on doing as much as possible in-house rather than relying on third parties. This includes an affiliate program that was originally outsourced to a company in Vancouver, Canada. When Matthew Glazier joined bet365 as head of marketing in 2004, he was largely responsible for bringing the program home after launching a speculative letter outlining his credentials to John Coates.

“They were an up and coming bookie then,” says Glazier. “John Coates himself said when he first spoke to him that they considered themselves the second tier of bookmakers at the time, which seems incredible to say now, but they were.”

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Realizing the future of online bookmaking, Dennis Coates decided to sell the family’s betting shops to Coral in 2005 for £40 million with his ambition to become a first class bookmaker. This was a pivotal moment in the company’s history, as the proceeds from the sale were used to pay off RBS debt, with some of the proceeds also being spent on technology when online gambling took off. In addition, bet365 has become multilingual and thus employs bilingual and multilingual staff to handle foreign customers.

During that time, the company expanded into online casino, bingo and poker. However, it was primarily a sports betting brand. These days, even if you visit a website, the games’ icons are pretty obscure, and certainly less noticeable than competing sites. Another big move for bet365 was to bring in gravel-throated Cockney actor Ray Winstone to run a TV ad campaign if the law was approved.

Winston’s detached head and direct delivery encouraging chances during the game were certainly memorable. Also, top customer offers, competitive pricing and great UX turbocharge the brand. “Bet365 had smart, driven leadership,” Welch said “They developed most of their products in-house, with excellent marketing and a real focus on live betting pioneered by the great Ray Winstone.

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Like most founders, Dennis and John Coates (CEO) were very hands-on. Dennis Coates was the driving force behind the business, and his younger brother, who had a law degree, oversaw the legal side and marketing. “The whole time I was there, they were micromanaging everything,” Glazier said.

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“Everything went through them and every important decision needed their approval. Dennis worked around the clock on betting coupon functionality, the new site or the technical side of things… nothing major was ever outsourced. I’m not sure how much that has changed. Because of how big the company has become, it’s virtually impossible for them to make every decision, but that was the case when I was there [2004-2010].

This strong work ethic is echoed by Richard Smith, who led the company’s mobile operations between 2010 and 2014. “The C-level was working all weekend. Dennis worked weekends – he was in the office seven days a week when I was there. I worked weekends and sometimes nights. You go to Betson [where Smith worked after bet365] and everyone above a certain level finishes at five o’clock on a Friday. My boss [at bet365] said to me, ‘Saturday is the busiest day of the week [so] why aren’t all the important people in the office?’ It was not managed as proactively as some other companies, which resulted in a better experience for the customer and issues were resolved more quickly.

The handhelds became part of the business when Smith went on a six-month “tour” of the company working on customer service, payments and fraud, and software testing before ending up on the mobile team. “Mobile was nothing, like 0.5% of revenue, and a very basic mobile site,” Smith explains. This was before the explosion of mobile, when custom betting apps were just starting to hit the scene, with Apple now allowing iOS apps in its store.

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