The former Sheffield student who earned £200 MILLION last year and is now Britain's highest earning woman

A former Sheffield University student has become Britain's highest-earning woman - after pocketing nearly £200 MILLION last year.

Ray Winstone in the Bet365 adverts.

Mum of five Denise Coates is behind one of Britain's biggest bookmakers - online gambling firm Bet365 - and records show she earned £199 million last year as the firm made more than half a billion pounds in profit.

Now joint chief executive of the firm, she created the company - famed for its adverts with actor Ray Winstone - in a portable office in a Stoke-on-Trent car park in 2000.

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Records show that Bet365 punters gambed £47billion in the last financial year, a rise of £10billion on the previous year.

Intensely private Miss Coates, 50, runs the company with her brother John and owns just over a 50 per cent stake in the firm, reported the Sunday Times.

Her father Peter is chairman of Stoke City Football Club, which is owned by the Bet365 Group.

Bet365 employs around 3,000 people - including her own husband Richard Smith, who serves as group property director. The pair met at Sheffield University, where she earned a first class degree in econometrics in the 1980s.

Bet365's huge profits mean the Coates family has risen to number 22 in this year's Sunday Times Rich List with a £5billion fortune.