Bet365’s Denise Coates becomes the highest paid female boss in British corporate history after pulling a wage double that of the entire squad of the Premier League’s Stoke City.
When Del Boy used to tell Rodney that this time next year we’ll be millionaires, I used to think; I’ll have a bit of that.
It wasn’t Only Fools and Horses that yearned for seven-figures it was everybody I knew. For most of us, it was the only reason we believed in God, as we needed our prayers answered.
A million pounds.
Imagine what you could do with that kind of money?
So forgive me if I think it’s a little over the top for Denise Coates to take home a £199,305,000 wage packet, and £18m in dividends after her company Bet365 declared a £525m profit on £47 billion in bets taken, up £10 billion year-on-year.
On the one hand, it’s a fascinating story.
Coates began working in the gambling industry when as a kid she would work as a cashier in her father’s betting shop. After leaving Sheffield University with a degree in econometrics, she returned to her hometown of Stoke to train as the company accountant.
It was during this time when Coates peered into her crystal ball and talked her father into mortgaging his betting shops and setting up an online business.
In 2001, Coates and her brother John acquired the Bet365 domain name on eBay for $25,000, set up a portable office in a Potteries car park and planned world domination. In 2005, with her decision to move online vindicated, Bet365 sold their entire brick and mortar business to Coral for £40m.
Denise Coates is the daughter of Stoke City chairman Peter Coates, and her 2016/17 salary was more than double the wage bill of the Premier League side. In 2016, Stoke renamed their stadium the Bet365 stadium.
The 50-year-old is the highest earning female in British corporate history. The eldest of four children, Denise, is worth an estimated £3.17 billion and is Bet365’s majority shareholder owning 50.01% of the company. The Coates Family fortune exceeds £5 billion, more than Richard Branson.
And on the other hand…
News of the £217m payday has drawn criticism from the anti-gambling lobby complaining that her wages total 22-times more than the entire gambling industry donates to the area of problem gambling.
Mike Dixon, the CEO of the charity Addaction told The Guardian:
“The gambling industry is paying nowhere near enough for the treatment of gambling addicts. It means that there are a lot of people are not getting any help at all. It seems indefensible for the industry to be giving so little when it is making so much money.”
Denise Coates isn’t alone as a high paying female who receives vast amounts of cash working in an area some court as ‘controversial’. The highest paid female gaffer in the FTSE Index of Britain’s 100 biggest public companies is Alison Cooper (no relation to the skinny singer with a face full of lipstick) who earns £5.5m per year as the head of the tobacco giant Imperial Brands.
While Coates has received criticism for not syphoning more money towards problem gambling charities, that doesn’t mean she isn’t charitable. In 2013, when Bet365 doubled its profits, Denise shifted £100m to set up the Denise Coates Foundation. Recipient charities that have benefited from the Coates foundation include Oxfam, Cafod, and a variety of hospitals, colleges and universities.