Bet365 founder Denise Coates earns £217 million thanks to online bookie’s stellar success

  • Company made a £525 million profit last year
  • Payout makes her the best-paid boss in the UK

The founder of UK bookmaker Bet365, Denise Coates, earned £217 million ($284 million) last year as her company recorded a £525m ($687 million) profit, having taken £47 billion ($61.5 billion) in bets.

Denise Coates has been awarded a rather handsome payday thanks to the stellar performance of her online bookmaker and casino site Bet365.
Denise Coates has been awarded a rather handsome payday thanks to the stellar performance of her online bookmaker and casino site Bet365.

Coates, who set up Bet365 in a Stoke car park in 2000, is now officially the highest paid boss in the UK, easily outstripping the previous record holder, Sir Martin Sorrell, who picked up £48m.

The £199,305,000 she has paid herself this year is over 1300 times the wage of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and is more than double the total wage bill of Stoke City, the Premier League soccer club that Bet365 owns. In addition to her payout, she also earned £18 million in share dividends.

Coates, who lives in a farmhouse in Sandbach, near Stoke, and drives an Aston Martin, said that pay was recognition for the rise in the company’s profits, which increased by 15 percent in the year 2016-17, on the back of a 39 percent increase in revenue.

Betting shops

Coates began her career as a cashier in one of the betting shops owned by her father Peter, whose main business was in football stadium catering. After graduating with a first in econometrics from Sheffield University, she studied accountancy and then expanded the Coates family chain to nearly 50 premises, before turning to online betting at the turn of the millennium. She purchased the Bet365.com domain for $25,000 and has since built up the online business to become one of the UK’s largest bookmakers.

But some have criticised the payout, including Mike Dixon, of the charity Addaction, who said it was wrong that Coates had received a payout 22 times greater than the amount the whole UK gambling industry gives to addiction treatment. Stefan Stern, of the High Pay Centre went further in criticising the level of her remuneration:

“When a business is making its money in a way that causes a great deal of concern about its level of social responsibility it is even more unacceptable to see someone extracting this amount of wealth while so many people are left as victims in the wake of its business operations.”

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