Bet365 Co-CEO Denise Coates Gets £421m Pay Package Despite Revenue Dropping 8% in 2020

  • Coates was the best paid UK executive last year, with her pay rising from £277m in 2019
  • The Sunday Times named Coates as the UK’s wealthiest female last year
  • Bet365 also paid out a £95m dividend to its four directors, with Coates getting about £48m
  • Bet365 avoided layoffs and pay cuts and didn't accept government money during the pandemic
  • The operator is looking to expand its US presence to add to its NJ online casino and sportsbook
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Bet365 co-CEO Denise Coates took home a massive £421m ($582m) pay packet last year as the company’s revenue falling 8%. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A hefty sum

Bet365 boss Denise Coates broke the record for the best-paid UK executive after getting a pay package worth £421m ($582m) last year. The details of this remuneration package were part of the gambling group’s latest set of figures for its financial year ending March 29, 2020. Coates’ base pay was £277m ($383m) in 2019; her pay over the past four years totaled more than £1bn ($1.38bn).

She has ownership of more than half of the company.

Tesla’s Elon Musk was the best-paid US executive in 2019, reportedly earning $595m, though he takes his compensation in the form of stock options, not salary. Coates took over the gambling business from her father two decades ago and now runs it alongside her brother. She has ownership of more than half of the company.

For the past five years, Coates has regularly been the best-paid executive in the UK. The Sunday Times named her the UK’s wealthiest female last year and she was also the region’s biggest taxpayer. Coates contributed £85m ($117.6m) to a variety of good causes through her foundation in 2020.

A tough year for the business

Despite the popularity of online gambling during the COVID-19 pandemic, the online-focused Bet365 saw its revenue fall 8% to £2.8bn ($3.87bn) in 2020. The company also paid out a £95m ($131m) dividend to the four company directors, with Coates getting about £48m ($66m). As a result of this dividend and increasing remuneration, operating profit for the 2020 financial year dropped 74% to £194.7m ($269m).

The cancellation of sporting events for a large portion of 2020 had a big impact on the sports betting side of the business. Without the global crisis, the company believes that its revenue would have risen by 2%.

During the pandemic, Bet365 avoided laying off any of its 5,000 or so employees. It also did not reduce workers’ pay or accept any government money through furlough schemes during the financial year, and it contributed £614m in taxes to the UK government. Coates said she was “delighted” with the company’s response to the tough situation.

Bet365 does not give a breakdown of the exact split of its business in geographical terms, but it currently holds licenses in more than two dozen countries and has about 53 million customers. It is also the owner of Stoke City FC, which currently plays in the second tier of English soccer. The team reported an £87m ($120m) loss last year.

US expansion efforts

One of the areas that Bet365 is targeting for expansion is the United States. Most major gambling operators have been trying to get a slice of the action in this constantly expanding market.

has not focused on rapid expansion, unlike many other operators

Bet365 launched its first US online casino and sportsbook in New Jersey back in 2019 through a deal with the Hard Rock Atlantic City. It has not focused on rapid expansion, unlike many other operators. Bet365 does have a partnership in New York with Empire Resorts to offer online sports betting if lawmakers decide to legalize the activity.

While hopes were high in recent months that the New York lawmakers would push through sports betting legislation, the issue is now up in the air. After opposing the idea of legalization for some time, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo changed his mind in January when faced with a huge budget deficit.

However, negotiations appear to have broken down, with a final vote on the state budget to take place on Wednesday. Senator Joseph Addabbo, the main lawmaker driving online sports betting legalization in the state, believes that the chances of passage next week is now 50/50.