Bet365 Chief Pays Herself $462.2 Million

Denise Coates, the joint CEO of online gambling firm Bet365, paid herself more than $462 million during the last financial year.

They say it is tough at the top but earning $462.2 million in a year helps matters. That is the obscene take-home pay of Bet365 chief Denise Coates. The 55-year-old received a £213 million ($374.3 million) salary in addition to £50 million ($87.9 million) in dividends. Coates sanctioned the massive payment despite Bet365’s profits falling 90% to their lowest level since 2008.

Bet365 is one of the largest and most successful privately-owned gambling businesses on the planet. Sports betting is its primary focus, although the company offers casino games, bingo, and several other gambling verticals. Bet365 does not offer online poker in Australia; its operations here are purely sports betting-related. Coates founded the company from a makeshift office almost two decades ago. Bet365 has proven extremely lucrative for Coates, as she has paid herself almost £1 billion ($1.76 billion) in the past three years.

Coates received £421 million ($739.9 million) the year before the pandemic and an additional £298 million ($523.7 million) in 2021. The Bet365 chief’s pay packet makes Coates one of the best-paid directors on the planet. Her package is 16 times larger than the best-paid CEO of any London Stock Exchange-listed company. Indeed, only 10 executives globally received more money than Coates.

Online Gambling Revenue Soars at Bet365

The publicly available Bet365 financial report shows a huge increase in the company’s online gaming business. Sports betting revenue fell 2% but offering the best mobile pokies and high roller casino online outside Australia resulted in a 25% revenue increase.

Pre-tax profits plummeted to £49.8 million ($87.5 million), down 90% from the £469 million ($824.3 million) profit of last year. Coates’ statement reveals Bet365 spent an additional £320 million ($562.4 million) in administration expenses. These included advertising in new markets, having launched in the Netherlands, Argentina, Colorado, and Ontario in 2022. In addition, the company took on more than 600 new staff members; bet365 now employs almost 6,100 people.

Owning a loss-making football club ate into the gambling giant’s profits. Bet365 owns English EFL Championship’s Stoke City, the team Coates’ father and brother support. They not only support the club in person but they essentially bankroll it, writing off masses of debt and including its financial figures in the annual Bet365 report.

Stoke City posted a £26.2 million ($46.04 million) loss last year as it attempted and failed to return to the Premier League. Furthermore, Bet365 wrote off £120 million ($210.9 million) of intercompany loans and swapped £40 million ($70.3 million) of debt for equity. Bet365 also bought Stoke City’s stadium and training facilities before leasing them back to the club.

Bet365 also donated £100 million ($175.7 million) to the charity Coates set up in her name.

Coates’ Immense Salary Hits the UK Headlines

The announcement of Coates’ astronomical salary added fuel to the fire for campaigners wanting the United Kingdom government to step in and regulate the pay of company bosses. Research shows that by 2:00 p.m. on the third day of the year, each chief executive of each FTSE 100-listed company earned more than the average UK worker’s annual salary. While companies ask workers not to ask for more, executive pay has soared 39%.

Paul Nowak, the general secretary of the TUC union called for more fairness in pay.

“Everyone deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. But while working people are told not to ask for more, top pay is soaring. We need government action to bring back some fairness on pay. Workers should have seats on executive pay committees to bring some common sense to top pay. And ministers must set out plans for fair pay for everyone, starting by agreeing to pay negotiations in the public sector.”

The infamously private Coates has not responded to requests for interview from news outlets.