Bet365 boss Denise Coates pays herself £323m in largest-ever UK company director payout

Chief executive enjoys £57m pay rise as gambling profits surge at firm founded in a Portakabin in Stoke

Coates made her £9.3bn fortune from online gambling
Coates made her £9.3bn fortune from online gambling

Gambling company boss Denise Coates paid herself £323m last year – the highest ever figure collected by a UK company director.

The chief executive of Bet365 collected a basic salary of almost £277m in the year to the end of March, £57m more than last year.

Ms Coates was also awarded a £45m dividend for her majority stake in the bookmaker, which she has grown from a Portakabin in Stoke to one of the world’s most successful gambling companies.

Her latest record haul is equivalent to the earnings of almost 9,000 full-time workers on the average wage.

Adam Bradford, a campaigner at the Safer Online Gambling Group, called on Ms Coates to “personally put her hand in her own pocket” and put 10 per cent of her salary towards funding NHS treatment centres for gambling addicts.

“The size of her salary is a complete slap in the face for addicts,” Mr Bradford said. ”Families have lost millions through gambling so this is really unpalatable news.”

Britain’s gambling industry contributed just £10m to a voluntary levy to help gambling addiction and related social problems last year, less than a thirtieth of Ms Coates’ annual pay.

Growing pressure from campaigners and MPs has prompted firms, including Bet365, to promise in June to ramp up their contributions tenfold to at least 1 per cent of revenues within five years.

Gamblers wagered £64.5bn with Bet365 in the last financial year, up more than a quarter on the year before and generating revenues of almost £3bn.

“Another way to look at it is every pound of profit for a gambling company is a pound lost by someone else,” said Mr Bradford.

Ms Coates’ personal share of Bet365’s expanding profits has now hit £817m over the past three years. Her majority shareholding makes her one of Britain’s richest people and 244th wealthiest in the world, with a net worth of £9.3bn, according to Forbes.

In Bet365’s annual report, Ms Coates highlighted her charity work, including an £85m donation to her foundation, up from £75m the year before.

“The size of the donation, and therefore the difference the foundation will be able to make to people’s lives over the coming years, are of great importance to the group,” she said.

Luke Hildyard, the executive director of the High Pay Centre, a think tank focused on pay, corporate governance and responsible business, said of Ms Coates’ latest paycheck: “This looks like cynical timing, sneaked out straight after a general election campaign where excess wealth, taxes on the rich and the vast gap between those at the top and everybody else have been key issues.

“It’s important that wealth and how it’s created and shared are properly debated. Business success should be incentivised and rewarded, but a payment a fraction of this size would still afford a lifestyle beyond the wildest dreams of most people. There’s clearly scope for those who are accumulating such sums to pay higher wages to their workers or contribute more in taxes to fund public services.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in