Bet365’s British boss Denise Coates has hit the headlines recently, and not just for her bumper salary. It’s the fact that her annual pay has now risen to £265m, making her the UK’s most wealthiest director.
This year alone, her pay has jumped by a whopping £48m, up from £217m in 2017. The staggeringly high numbers have led to numerous questions in an industry currently under fire in the press.
From FOBTs to a recent cut-down in what gambling adverts can be shown on TV, gambling is certainly high in the mind of the public perception. And with perception, comes scrutiny.
So, it’s unsurprising that many people are criticizing the billionaire’s take-home pay, including Luke Hildyard, a director of the High Pay Centre.
Hildyard said: “Obviously, people who build successful companies need to be rewarded for their hard work, but how much is too much? Denise Coates is already a billionaire. Surely this payment could be shared more evenly across the company’s workers or with the wider community.
“People are sick and tired of a business culture that enriches those at the top while doing very little for low and middle income earners – a billionaire taking hundreds of millions more from a company that profits, in part, from other people’s addictions does nothing to dispel that perception.”
When it comes to high-earners, comparisons are often made against the salary of the UK prime minister, Theresa May, who in comparison earns a meagre £153,000.
Coates’ annual salary is roughly 1,730 times the amount paid to the highest politician in UK government, and when compared against the football club her company owns – Stoke City, she even earns more than the total wages of the footballers put together (£98m).
Luckily Bet365 seem to be doing better than Stoke City, who were relegated from the Premier League earlier this year and then suffered a £21m loss this year.
The Bet365 accounts revealed Ms Coates CBE (she was awarded it in 2012) was paid a base salary of £220m, plus the half-share of a £90m dividend paid out by the company.
It also reported a 28% rise in pre-tax profits to £660.6m for the year as the total amount wagered by punters climbed to £52.6bn.
Bet365 also paid £75m to the Denise Coates Foundation, a charity that has funded work including Alzheimer’s research.
Coates said: “I am pleased to report that the group continued to experience significant growth during the period.”
She also acknowledged the issue of problem gambling, saying the company was “committed to improving its methods of identifying harmful play” and was seeking new ways to “promote safer gambling across its entire customer base”.
A family affair
Coates comes from one of British richest families, with an estimated fortune of £5.8bn according to the Sunday Times Rich List, which ranks them as the 21st richest in the country.
Both Coates’s brother John and father Peter are also directors at Bet365. The company was created in 2000 and now employs more than 4,000 people and has 35 million customers worldwide.