Billionaire Bet365 boss Denise Coates pocketed ‘obscene’ £265m pay packet last year – earning 9,500 times more than an average UK worker
- Companies House accounts show boss was paid £220m basic salary
- Coates and family also pocketed millions in dividend payments
- High Pay Centre labels the pay packet as ‘obscene’
Denise Coates, the boss of gambling firm Bet365, landed herself a pay packet of £265million last year, the company’s latest accounts reveal.
The multi-billionaire boss raked in basic pay of £220million last year, against a salary of just over £199million a year earlier. On top of her basic salary, Coates pocketed a multi-million pound dividend.
The company dished out £90million in dividends to its investors, of which £80.7million went to its owners, comprising Coates and her family.
Top pay: Denise Coates, the boss of gambling firm Bet365, landed herself a pay packet of £265 million in the last year
Coates’s brother John and father Peter are also directors at the company and the family is already one of Britain’s richest, with an estimated fortune of £5.8billion, according to the Sunday Times rich list which ranks them at 21st. This surpasses Richard Branson’s £4.5billion fortune.
To put Coates’ latest pay packet into context, Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly earns just over £150,000 a year, but of course enjoys the benefits of a lavish Downing Street home, a country retreat and a chauffeur-driven limousine. At some stage the Prime Minister will also receive a bumper retirement package.
Coates’ pay is also around 9,500 times more than the average UK salary and more than double that paid to the entire Stoke City football team, which Bet365 owns.
Earlier this month, the boss of housebuilding firm Persimmon was sacked after a furore surfaced over his £75million bonus payment.
Luke Hildyard, of the High Pay Centre, told This is Money: ‘Obviously, people who build successful companies need to be rewarded for their hard work, but this is an obscene amount of money for someone who is already a billionaire. It’s weird to think that someone so rich would want to get their hands on even more, rather than put it to a more useful purpose.’
He added: ‘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.’
The pay revelations emerged at a time when the gambling sector finds itself increasingly under fire for failing to the rise of problem gambling.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson recently described gambling as a ‘public health emergency.’
Out in the cold: Denise Coates’ salary dwarfs that of Prime Minister Theresa May
A regular on rich lists, Ms Coates founded Bet365 in a car park in 2000 and has since grown it into a betting titan.
Bet365 posted a 28 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £660.6million in the year to March on turnover of £2.9billion.
The filed accounts also reveal that Stoke City football club, relegated from the Premier League in May, suffered a £21million loss last year.
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.’