- CEO of Bet365 paid herself a salary of nearly £200 million as well as £18 million in dividends.
- The company’s profits rose 15% and revenue jumped 39% for the financial year ending March.
- Coates grew the company from nothing and is now the best paid boss in Britain.
LONDON – Billionaire Denise Coates, founder and CEO of gambling company Bet365, paid herself £217 million last year, according to annual company filings.
Coates, who has surpassed Sir Martin Sorrell as the best paid boss in Britain, received a salary of £199 million and £18 million in dividend payments. The company made £527 million in profit, and total bets soared to a record £47 billion, up more than £10 billion from the previous year.
Coates’ huge salary was justified by the company’s “significant growth” in gambling profits, which rose 15% to £514 million. Revenue for 2016/17 also soared 39% to a record £2.15 billion.
Sorrell earned £48.1 million last year, while Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival, was the next highest paid FTSE 100 boss with earnings of £22.4 million.
Coates began her career as a cashier in her father’s betting shops, but after graduating from Sheffield University she expanded the family business, Provincial Racing, to nearly 50 betting shops.
Realizing the future of betting lay online, she bought the domain Bet365.com on eBay for $25,000 in 2000.
“We mortgaged the betting shops and put it all into online,” she told the Guardian in 2012, “we were the ultimate gamblers if you like.”
The results come as the government tries to crack down on fixed-odds betting terminals, criticised for being addictive. In August, the Gambling Commission said two million people in the UK are addicted to gambling or at risk of addiction.
Responding to Coates’ salary, Mike Dixon, chief executive of charity Addaction, told the Guardian, “It cannot be right that the CEO of a betting company is paid 22 times more than the whole industry donates to treatment.”
The Coates family own 93% of Bet365, and were listed in the Times Rich List as the 22nd richest family in Britain, with a fortune of £5 billion.