The boss of Bet365 Denise Coates has paid herself £469million – the biggest salary in UK history.
The gambling tycoon, 53, increased her salary by 45 per cent, taking her total earnings since 2016 to £1.3 billion.
The payday means that, between April 2019 and March 2020, she earnt the equivalent of £1.3 million per day, or £54,000 per hour, and took home 2,360 times more than the Prime Minister.
The pay packet was also more than all of the salaries of the chief executives of Britain’s 100 largest listed companies put together.
In total Bet365 handed out £607 million to senior managers, including Mrs Coates’s brother John.
The figure is 699 times more than Bet365 donated to GambleAware, a charity working to reduce gambling harm in the UK, under the industry’s ‘voluntary levy’ system.
Bet365 boss Denise Coates, 53, increased her salary by 45 per cent, taking her total earnings since 2016 to £1.3 billion. Pictured, in 2012 Mrs Coates was awarded a CBE
Mrs Coates took a salary of £421million, topped up with a £48million dividend payment from her 50 per cent stake in the business.
The Coates family are estimated to be worth around £6.8 billion, making Mrs Coates the UK’s 5th richest woman behind Marit and Kirsten Rausing, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Kirsty Bertarelli.
The revelations come amidst growing concern about the impact of the pandemic on Britain’s gambling epidemic, after the losses suffered by families stuck at home in lockdown rocketed.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘It’s gross that anyone should pay themselves that amount of money in a single year.
The payday means that, between April 2019 and March 2020, she earnt the equivalent of £1.3 million per day. Pictured, Companies House
In total Bet365 handed out £607 million to senior managers, including Mrs Coates’s brother John (file image)
‘This company is successful when people lose money and lives are changed and damaged. We see this is a dangerous problem, but she flaunts it in everyone’s faces by paying herself this ludicrous amount of money.’
Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said: ‘It’s appallingly inefficient for single individuals to hoard wealth in this way.’
Mrs Coates started working in bookmaking as a teenager when she worked in shops owned by her father, the son of a miner who made his fortune in the sports stadium catering business.
The mother of five children, including four girls adopted from the same family, saw that the future of the industry was online, and mortgaged the betting shops to build the Bet365 website.
Mrs Coates pictured with her father Peter, who is also a director of her betting company
She bought the domain name on eBay and launched the site in 2001, growing rapidly thanks to prolific advertising fronted by actor Ray Winston.
Through the 2010s, the website was repeatedly slated for its aggressive marketing of ‘in-play’ bets, which are thought to encourage impulsive betting.
The company is now a global leader employing 5,100 out of headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent and Gibraltar.
The Coates family, which own Stoke City football club, are also Britain’s biggest taxpayers. The business paid £615million to the Exchequer in 2019/20, on top of an estimated £220 million tax bill on Mrs Coates’s personal income.
In 2019/20 Bet365 also donated £85m to Mrs Coates’s charity foundation, which has previously donated to Oxfam and the Douglas Macmillan Hospice.
But the Coates have been criticised for not diverting more cash to fund gambling addiction treatment. In 2019/20 Bet365 pledged just £868,000 to GambleAware, which collects donations for treatment and research, although this is expected to rise to close to around £14million this year.
She has spent her enormous wealth on a massive country estate, offering ‘silly money’ to buy up neighbours’ land for the £90million build.
Plans for the sprawling home, set in 52 acres of Cheshire parkland, included an artificial lake, sunken tennis courts, stables, ornamental gardens, workers’ cottages and a boathouse.
She also planted 200 trees, erected a two-metre security fence around the property, while employing round-the-clock security.
Mrs Coates snapped up plots of land surrounding the area where she is building a glass palace, it was revealed in 2018 (pictured artist’s impression)
In December 2018 it was revealed that Ms Coates spent a staggering £5.5 million buying up hundreds of acres of farmland which surround her new space age home, snapping up 12 separate plots of land since 2014
The futuristic glass home is complete with a 7,000 square metre artificial lake, a boat house, a sunken tennis court, stables, walled gardens, a cycle path and a glass lake house on the water (pictured)
In the year to March 2020, Bet365 saw its revenues fall slightly to just under £2.8billion because of the cancellation of sporting fixtures in March 2020. Pictured, Mrs Coates
Her family are also said to use a helicopter, while Mrs Coates herself drives an Aston Martin DB9 sports car with customised licence plates.
In the year to March 2020, Bet365 saw its revenues fall slightly to just under £2.8billion because of the cancellation of sporting fixtures in March 2020.
The amount paid out to senior managers, including Mrs Coates, increased from £428million in 2018/19 to £607million in 2019/20.
The early impact of the pandemic, the significant increase in executive pay and an £87million loss at Stoke City FC pushed profits down from £791million to £224million.
Rival bookmakers, including the owners of Ladbrokes Coral and Paddypower have seen their fortunes soar in the pandemic, as millions of people globally spend time at home gambling online.
British companies, including Bet365, are also expanding rapidly in the US after a court decision liberalised online sports betting leading to a ‘gold rush’.
MailOnline has contacted Bet365 for comment.
How Denise Coates built up her family betting firm
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.
Mrs Coates completed the move from the portakabin office, borrowing £15m from the Royal Bank of Scotland secured on her family’s estate of betting shops. And the move paid off.
Mrs Coates is now the majority shareholder in Bet365, a global company which has benefited from tighter regulations on the industry in other countries. In 2017, the former University of Sheffield student who graduated with a first class degree, was paid £265million.
The bulk of her pay increase was due to a jump the salaries her company decided to pay out in 2018. It increased overall wages from £490m to £646m.
The family’s fortune was estimated at £7 billion in the latest Sunday Times ‘Rich List’ and the betting firm’s £30million HQ employs thousands in Stoke. The business said it had ‘increased remuneration for individuals that have been key to the development of the overarching corporate strategy’.
She took a large share of the £90m paid out in dividends in 2018, £80m of which went to four directors of the company, which include Mrs Coates.
Mrs Coates and her husband remain fiercely private and refuse to discuss their private lives, or backgrounds.
The pair set up a £185 million charitable foundation funding a variety of worthy causes at home and overseas. It provides bursaries for less well-off students, supports a hospice for cancer sufferers and has helped victims of natural disasters.
They have one child of their own and adopted four girls from the same family.