Bet365 chief executive Denise Coates becomes UK’s highest paid boss
Denise Coates, the joint chief executive of betting giant bet365, has become the UK’s highest paid boss after earning a salary of £217m last year.
Coates’ salary for the 2016-17 financial year was £199,305,000. In addition to this, she also took home £18m in dividend payments, bringing her earnings to £217m for the year. Interestingly, this has meant that Coates earned over twice the total wage bill of Premier League club Stoke City, who bet365 own and sponsor.
It was another strong year of growth for bet365, as revenues broke £2bn for the first time, a fact which Coates says justifies her salary. Profits for the firm were up 15% to £514m for the period.
Coates, whose father Peter created the family business, started bet365 over 17 years ago. Coates had initially started as a cashier for the firm, then trained to work as the accountant after graduating from Sheffield University with a degree in econometrics.
It was her decision to take the business online that took bet365 into the big-time. After buying the domain on eBay, her father’s string of betting shops and football stadium catering business was transformed and was to become one of the world’s biggest online gambling operators.
Should operators do more to prevent gambling addiction?
While Coates normally keeps herself and her finances out of the limelight, the spotlight has understandably been shone on her as she becomes the country’s highest paid boss.
However, not all the attention is positive. Speaking to the Guardian, Mike Dixon, chief executive of the charity Addaction, explained why many are less than impressed at Coates’ earnings:
It cannot be right that the CEO of a betting company is paid 22 times more than the whole industry ‘donates’ to treatment. The gambling industry is paying nowhere near enough for the treatment of gambling addicts. It means that there are a lot of people not getting any help at all. It seems indefensible for the industry to be giving so little, when it is making so much money.– Mike Dixon, Chief executive at Addaction
Dixon’s sentiment echoes a call from the Labour party for a levy on operators to fund treatment for gambling addiction. But others went a step further with their criticism, arguing that it is wrong for individuals to profit so greatly from an industry that causes financial and personal misery for others. It’s estimated there are currently over half a million problem gamblers in Britain.
Coates set up the Denise Coates Foundation in 2012. The foundation has not made any donations towards research into treating gambling addiction, but rather funds medical and education charities. Bet365 paid a £50m donation to the foundation last year.