Betting firm boss sees her pay cut to almost £300m

Denise Coates was appointed CBE for services to the community and business in 2012Denise Coates was appointed CBE for services to the community

Bet365 boss Denise Coates took home almost £300m during its last financial year – almost £170m down on her previous pay package.

The billionaire founder of the online gambling firm received £250m in salary and a share – thought to be 50% – of the company’s £97.5m dividend.

Ms Coates, one of Britain’s wealthiest women and a major philanthropist, has received a total of about £1.3bn from the business in the past five years. Bet365 was created 21 years ago.

Ms Coates and her brother John took over a betting shop business run by their father, spotting that online betting could revolutionize the industry. She now owns about half of the company. Bet365’s latest accounts filed at Companies House show revenues were broadly flat at £2.82bn in the first year of the pandemic, compared with £2.81bn in the previous year.

Although not named in the accounts, Ms Coates has always been regarded as the person referred to as “highest paid director”. Earnings from sports betting fell as the pandemic caused chaos to sporting schedules. But a rise in betting on online slot machines and casinos helped offset the loss.

Bet365 said: “At the start of the period we experienced the almost complete cessation of sporting events. However by the end of the first half of the year, we saw the resumption of sports with the vast majority of European football leagues managing to conclude their domestic seasons.”

Meanwhile, operating profit increased by 47% year-on-year to £285.5m, a gain the firm said was particularly driven by reduced pay packets for directors. Bet365 made charitable donations, mostly to the Denise Coates Foundation, of £103m, up from almost £90m the year before.

Ms Coates achieved a first-class degree in econometrics and later trained as an accountant within the family firm. The company owns Stoke City football club, and is based in the city.

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