Denise Coates, the founder of gambling firm Bet365 paid herself £217 million last year, it has emerged. The huge pay packet comes off the back of the company making £525 million worth of profit. It marks a remarkable rise for the 50 year old, who started the betting firm from a portakabin in a car park 17 years ago. In fact, her salary makes her the best paid boss in Britain, and with a further £18 million collected in dividends, it was certainly a year to remember for Coates.
Is It Too Much?
Whilst there’s no denying Coates has worked hard to turn Bet365 into one of the major players within the betting industry, her salary has drawn criticism from some quarters. The chief executive of Addaction, a gambling addiction charity, stated that it wasn’t right that Coates was paying herself ’22 times more’ than the entire industry donates to gambling addiction treatment.
Echoing the statement was a spokesman for Fairer Gambling, a gambling addiction campaign group. The spokesman stated that the entire industry donated a paltry £8 million to treatment, education and research last year. He went on to say that treatment services were ‘chronically underfunded’, especially when you consider that companies such as Bet365 were paying executives ‘millions of pounds’ every year.
From The Ground Up
Despite the criticism, there’s no denying that Coates has worked incredibly hard to get Bet365 where it is today. She started out as a cashier in betting shops owned by her father. It wasn’t long, however, before she graduated with a first in econometrics from Sheffield University, and promptly expanded the family betting chain, Provincial Racing, to just shy of 50 shops.
Coates was also quick to notice the future of gambling would be online and bought the Bet365.com domain on eBay, and since then she hasn’t looked back. In response to the criticism of her salary, Coates said it was justified because of the ‘significant growth’ in the firm’s profits. With a rise of 15% to £514 million, it has been the biggest year yet for Bet365. The rise in revenue has been put down to the fact that the company’s customers bet £47 billion last year, a £10 billion increase on the previous year.
Whilst there’s no denying Denise Coates has shown remarkable foresight and skill in growing Bet 365, questions will remain over how a salary of more than £200 million is justifiable, particularly when you consider the poor track record the betting industry has in funding treatment for gambling addiction.