Fury mounts over Bet365 boss Denise Coates’ £265m salary

‘Millions for one and misery for many’: Fury mounts over Bet365 boss Denise Coates’s ‘grotesquely obscene’ £265m salary

  • Denise Coates raked in an eye-watering salary plus £45million from dividends
  • Already Britain’s top paid boss, the windfall makes her one of world’s top earners
  • She earns more than popstars Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Beyonce combined
  • Sparked furious reaction online, with critics pointing to harm gambling causes

Denise Coates, the boss of bookmaker Bet365, earned an astonishing £265million in the last year. She is pictured on November 21

Fury is mounting over the ‘grotesquely obscene’ £265m salary of Bet365 boss Denise Coates, with critics slamming the decision to award herself the huge payout as the number of problem gamblers continues to rise.

Coates, whose pay is around 9,500 times more than the average UK salary, was accused of ‘making millions for one and misery for many’ as she became one of the highest paid executives in the world.

Lancashire priest Canon Stephen Jones tweeted: ‘Given the problem we have with gambling addiction, and the misery it causes, Denise Coates’ 265 million salary is grotesquely obscene #bet365.’

Coates earned £220million in 2018 and netted half of a further £90m dividend pot after her firm reported another year of bumper profits. The sum beats the £220m she took in last year, when she was already the UK’s highest paid director.

It comes amid signs that the damage caused by the industry is increasing, with calls to the National Gambling Helpline rising by 30% over five years. Meanwhile, the number of problem gamblers aged 11 to 16 has quadrupled in two years to 55,000.

Coates was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to the community and business, and has been praised for investing in Stoke. 


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But Twitter user Kirsten Minshall said: ‘Gambling is destroying lives, families and communities. The number of problem gambling children has quadrupled in 2 years.

‘And yet, Denise Coates, boss of bet 365 with a salary of 265 million this year was awarded a CBE for services to the community and business. Strange world.’ 

Critics of the salary rise took to Twitter to day to express their anger. One called Coates’ payout ‘grotesquely obscene’  

@General_JW tweeted: ‘Done some pretty shameful things as a gambling addict but nothing on the scale of #DeniseCoates. What a vile human being she is.

The betting mogul who founded Bet365 in a carpark  

Denise Coates founded Bet365 in a car park in 2000 and has since grown it into a betting titan. Her brother and father John and Peter are also directors at Bet365.

She lives in a large £1.3million farmhouse in Stoke with her husband, Richard Smith, who also has a stake in Bet365 and serves as a director for Stoke City, which Bet365 owns.

The couple adopted four girls from the same family a few years ago and they also have a child of their own, but she had been described as ‘reclusive’ after keeping her home life well away from the limelight.

‘I’m proud to say that I wouldn’t inflict the misery on others that she has for any amount of money and believe me I could do with money!’

‘Claire’ said: ‘I don’t care how much tax #DeniseCoates pays. @bet365 is making millions for one and misery for many.

Chloe McLaughlin added: ‘Denise Coates earns £265million a year (over £700k a day) through her gambling business.

‘Meanwhile we have more homeless people, poverty and higher food bank usage than ever before. Gambling addiction often causes both. And THAT is where our society is going wrong.’

But others came to Coates’ defence, saying that Bet 365 is a private company and that she, as its founder and CEO, had the right to pay herself what she liked.

@MsCatieMaxx tweeted: ‘So Denise Coates earns (& pays tax on) £265m a year from a tiny family company she built up (after putting herself thru Uni) to Bet365.

‘Those who blame her for ppl who can’t control their gambling(& no doubt blame drink companies for alcoholics) pls stfu & get a life. #DeniseCoates.’

Others today accused Coates of ‘making millions for one and misery for many’, although some came to her defence

Tom Dunn said: ‘Regarding Denise Coates’ salary for Bet365: it’s a private company. She can pay herself whatever she wants.’

The 51-year-old owns around half of Bet365, which had £2.5billion in revenue and facilitated £50billion in bets in the year through March 2017.

Her staggering £3.9billion net worth puts her at number 388 in the Forbes rich list – drawing her level with Richard Branson, and making her wealthier than Philip Green, Bernie Ecclestone and Mike Ashley.

How Denise Coates awarded herself a NINE-figure pay packet

Denise Coates bought the domain name bet365 on eBay in 2001 for £20,000 and began operating a dot.com betting business from a portable cabin in Stoke.

She is now the majority shareholder in Bet365, a global company which has benefited from tighter regulations on the industry in other countries.

The bulk of her pay increase was due to a jump the salaries her company decided to pay out this year. It increased overall wages from £490m to £646m.

The business said it had ‘increased remuneration for individuals that have been key to the development of the overarching corporate strategy’.

She then took a large share of the £90m paid out in dividends, £80m of which went to four directors of the company, which include Ms Coates.

Her fellow executives at the bookmaker include her husband, childhood sweetheart Richard Smith, who serves as group property director, as well her father Peter and her brother John.

She and her husband met at Sheffield University, where she earned a first class degree in econometrics in the 1980s.

Returning to Stoke to work for her father’s company as an accountant, she saw the potential in internet gambling and convinced her family to mortgage all their betting shops to build an online business.

She then bought the Bet365 domain name for around £20,000 and has never looked back.

She and her husband adopted four girls from the same family a few years ago and they also have a child of their own, but she had been described as ‘reclusive’ after keeping her home life well away from the limelight.

The couple live with their children in a large farmhouse near Stoke-on-Trent, bought for £1.3million in the spring of 2013.

The pay award means Coates earned more than the world’s three highest-earning pops tars – Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Beyonce – combined.

She also earns around 1,000 times the Prime Minister Theresa May’s estimated £150,000 a year salary.

Coates’ pay is 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.

Ms Coates is pictured with her CBE medal in 2012. She has been praised for investing in Stoke

Results earlier this month show privately-held Bet365 took an overall revenue of £2.72billion in the 12 months ending March 2018. Image undated 

A regular on rich lists, Ms Coates founded Bet365 in a car park in 2000 and has since grown it into a betting titan.

How Denise Coates’s huge pay dwarfs that of other tycoons

Ms Coates pay packet put her way above technology tycoon Sir James Dyson, who made around £200million last year.

Tesla boss Elon Musk made around £120million ($150million) in 2017, while Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai made £112million ($144million).

US digital giant Broadcom Inc paid its CEO Hock E. Tan £80million ($103million) last year, according to reports.

Alongside her brother and father John and Peter, who are also directors at Bet365, the family boasts an estimated fortune of £5.8billion, ranking them 21st on the Sunday Times rich list.

Ms Coates, John, Peter and finance director Will Roseff shared a total of £321.6 million last year, the Bet365 figures show.

Total director and manager salaries ballooned from £321.9 million to £448.6 million.

Bet365 posted a 28% rise in pre-tax profit to £660.6 million in the year to March on turnover of £2.9 billion.

The firm also owns Stoke City and the accounts, filed at Companies House, show that the football club, relegated from the Premier League in May, suffered a £21 million loss last year.

Ms Coates, pictured with her father Peter, who is also a director of her betting company. Image undated 

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