Bet365 founder Denise Coates reportedly earned £265 million in salary last year, which is the most in history for an executive of a Britain-based company. Coates earned about £726,000 per day in a deal that crushed the previous United Kingdom record for annual earnings. Interestingly enough, Coates also held the previous record when she earned £217 million the year prior.
The records show that Coates was paid a base salary of £220,004,000 in the year that ended in March of 2018. She additionally earned dividend payments of £45 million as she owns over 50 percent of the shares in the company. Coates’ earnings equate to over 9,500 times the average salary in the United Kingdom. She earned 1,700 times the amount earned by UK prime minister Teresa May and over twice as much as the entire Stoke City Football Club. Bet365 is also based in Stoke. Perhaps most amazingly, Coates earned 27 times the amount of Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, said, “In any circumstance it is hard to justify, but more so given the money comes from people struggling with compulsive gambling. This is an industry body needing tighter regulation. We have started high-stake gaming machines. We now need to move into online gambling, and curbing the advertising around it.” Cable also called Coates’ salary an “eye-watering pay package.”
Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said, “Why does someone who is already a billionaire need to take such an obscene amount of money out of their company? It is difficult to find a reason beyond pure greed. A payment of this size would be impossible to justify for someone whose business was in unquestionably life-enhancing products or services. It is doubly offensive when awarded to a betting company CEO at a time when problem gambling is spiraling out of control.”
Coates has not commented on her immense earnings. However, she told Bet365 shareholders, “Increased remuneration for individuals has been key to the development of the overarching corporate strategy that has successfully driven the group forward. I am pleased to report that the group continued to experience significant growth during the period, with overall revenue and operating profit increasing year-on-year by 25 percent to £2.9 billion and 31 percent to £660 million, respectively.”
Prior to the news of her enormous earnings, Coates and her family were already listed as the 21st-richest in all of Great Britain with an estimated fortune of £5.8 billion. Coates is richer than Sir Richard Branson (£4.5 billion) and Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (£3 billion).
The Coates family controls 93 percent of Bet365 overall. Coates herself owns better than 50 percent, while her brother, husband and father own around 40 percent. Her husband and father are both executives with Stoke City Football Club.
Bet365’s directors and “key management personnel” earned a combined £449 million, which was up from £322 million the year prior. Most that work at Bet365 seem to be doing well financially. If you divide the £648,000 in earnings among its 4,030 employees it comes out to a salary of £161,000 per person.
Coates started out as a cashier at her father’s betting shops before expanding her family’s shops to nearly 50 around the U.K. Once online gambling began to gain some momentum around the turn of the century, Coates decided to purchase the Bet365 domain name from eBay for https://www.gamblingsites.org/news/odell-beckham-signs-record-breaking-deal-with-giants/19,000. That was the move that propelled her to untold riches.
Bet365 took in over £52 billion in wagers last year alone, which was an increase of about £5 billion over the previous year.
News of Coates’ big payday comes at an interesting time. Earlier this week a report came out that said that the number of problem gambling children has quadrupled in just the last 2 years alone. The Gambling Commission revealed that there were 55,000 problem gamblers between the ages of 11 and 16, with another 70,000 young people at risk of developing a gambling problem.
Mike Dixon, the chief executive at Addaction, an addiction charity, said, “It’s astonishing that a CEO of one gambling company is paid 26 times more than the entire industry’s contribution to addiction treatment. We know problem gambling affects more than 2 million people. We need a proper levy on gambling industry profits so more people can get help and support.”
Bet365 donated £75 million to the Denise Coates Foundation, which is an education and medical charity. The company has never donated money to gambling addiction charities.
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