bet365 CEO Paid £323m Last Year, Becomes Highest Paid Top Executive Ever

  • Denise Coates made £323m ($421m) last year, the most ever paid to the boss of a British company
  • Claims that bet365 intentionally waited until after the recent election to make Coates’ pay public
  • She purchased the bet365.com domain on eBay for $25,000 (£19,000) back in the year 2000
bet365 smartphone app with coins scattered about
bet365 CEO Denise Coates made £323 million ($421 million) in salary and dividends last fiscal year, the most for any top executive ever. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

£276.5 million in salary alone

Denise Coates, the founder and chief executive officer of bet365, made £323 million ($421 million) last year, the most ever paid to the boss of a British company. She made £265 million ($345 million) the year before, which also set a record at the time.

The Guardian uncovered the private company’s financials after they were filed on Wednesday. The compensation is comprised of £276,585,000 ($360 million) in salary for bet365’s fiscal year ending March 2018, plus “about” £45 million ($59 million) in dividend payments from the company.

In three years, Coates made £817 million ($1.064 billion)

The Action Network’s Darren Rovell also reports that the total compensation was not only the most in British business history, but the most in business history, period. In three years, Coates made £817 million ($1.064 billion), according to The Guardian.

Criticized for timing

The UK newspaper said that critics jumped on the income revelation, claiming that Coates and bet365 intentionally waited until after the recent election to make Coates’ pay details public. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, had made targeting the ultra-rich a part of his campaign platform. To some, the timing of Coates’ pay reveal looked like she was trying to avoid the crosshairs.

The financials were expected to be filed a month ago and bet365 did not explain why they were delayed.

Luke Hildyard, executive director of the think tank High Pay Center, told The Guardian that wealth creation and distribution should be discussed. He said that avoiding publishing Coates’ compensation until this week looked like an obvious dodge.

Hildyard stated that “even Bet365 recognises that, while business success should be rewarded, such a colossal payout goes far beyond what is fair or proportionate.”

Adding to the suspicion, bet365 sent a version of the financials to trade publications earlier this week, specifically telling them not to give them to UK newspapers. Those trade websites did not publish Coates’ pay numbers, though it is uncertain if they had them.

Coates took family business to the top

Coates began her career working in the cashier’s department of her father, Peter’s, over-the-counter betting shop business, Provincial Racing. After graduating from Sheffield University, she became the operating manager of the family company, helping expand it through acquisition to more than 50 shops.

Her big move came in the year 2000, when she bought the bet365.com domain on eBay for $25,000 (£19,000)

Her big move came in the year 2000, when she bought the bet365.com domain on eBay for $25,000 (£19,000), betting that online gambling would be the future of the industry. The site went live in March 2001.

Coates was clearly correct on her gamble and, seeing that bet365 was where the future of the business was going to be, sold the betting shops in 2005 for $50 million (£27.5 million).

The company is now the second largest sports betting operation in the world. It took in $85 billion (£65.3 billion) in bets in its last fiscal year, profiting over $1 billion (£768 million).