Bet365’s Denise Coates Is UK’s Best Paid Executive Earning £323 Million Last Year
The accounts for the betting company Bet365 have been released and they reveal that Denise Coates, the company’s co-founder, was paid £323 million last year. That is enough to mean that she is the country’s best paid Chief Executive, having beaten the record that she herself set the year before when she was paid £265 million.
The payment comes at a time when the betting industry remains under fire for its approach to problem gambling, with a recent cross-party group of Members of Parliament calling on the government to introduce measures that would overhaul the way online betting works in order to protect the most vulnerable. It will obviously lead to questions being asked about the amount of money Coates has been paid.
Coates Is The Driving Force Behind Bet365
Whilst it might seem an obscene amount of money to most people, equating to £1.3 million per working day, Denise Coates will undoubtably feel as though it’s perfectly fair for the work that she has done in making Bet365 one of the biggest betting companies in the country. Having studied econometrics, which is the application of statistical methods to economic data, at Sheffield University, Coates then began to work for Bet365.
The firm was run by her father, but she realised that online gambling would be the future of the industry. She invested money into the bet365.com domain and began to move the business in the direction of online work. It would prove to be an inspired move, with online betting become one of the biggest industries in the UK in the years that followed. With Bet365 making re-tax profits of £791 million, which was an improvement on the £661 Millikan of the previous year, Coates will undoubtedly feel as though she’s earned her payout.
What She Was Actually Paid
Denise Coates’ pay package has been improving year-on-year, having paid herself £217 million in 2016 and then £265 million in 2017. The company founder was paid a basic salary of £276,585,000 in the year that ran up to March of 2018, which was added to by dividend payments of £45 million to take us to the headline amount. This is because she owns around 51% of shares in the company, with her brother John working as the Joint-Chief Executive and her father Peter being Bet365’s Chairman.
She has paid herself an amount of money that is in the region of being around 9,500 times more than the average person in the UK earns. It is also more than 2,000 what Boris Johnson gets paid as Prime Minister. The payout means that she’s earned around £817 million over the past three years. Many believe that Coates waited until after the election result before publishing the firm’s finances with Companies House, largely to avoid the possibility of being targeted by Jeremy Corbyn for her wealth.
Is Criticism Fair?
Denise Coates has been criticised by numerous different parties as a result of how much money she has chosen to pay herself, but is that criticism entirely fair? It goes without saying that it is an incredibly large amount of money, more than even the highest EuroMillions jackpot that has been won to date. Yet how many people wouldn’t pay themselves such a large amount of money if they were in a position to do so? It’s certainly worth noting that she has declared her wage to the British government, meaning that she will pay tax on it to a very high degree.
That might well fit into the bracket of ‘least she can do’, but it’s worth bearing in mind that many other executives for betting firms find ways to avoid paying tax into the UK system. There’s a reason that so many betting companies are based in the likes of Malta and Gibraltar, given that the lower rate of tax systems in place there allow their executives to avoid having to pay too much money in tax. The tax she’ll pay will be put towards various things that will help people less fortunate, so in some ways it’s commendable that she’s made her pay public.
It Certainly Comes At A Bad Time
That being said, it’s not exactly outrageous that some people are critical of the amount of money that Coates has chosen to pay herself. We live at a time when people in work are having to turn to food banks just to survive, a record number of children are in poverty and homelessness is always increasing. Little wonder, then, that plenty of people seem to be unimpressed with the size of the Bet365 Chief Executive’s payout. Luke Hildyard works at the High Pay Centre and said, “It’s important that wealth and how it’s created and shared are properly debated”.
Hildyard was quick to point out that rewarding people for being successful in business is important, but that doing so appropriately is key. He said, “while business success should be rewarded, such a colossal payout goes far beyond what is fair or proportionate”. It’s also disappointing for many that the highest paid female executive is one that works for a gambling company, given how much criticism the gambling industry has come under in recent years for the manner in which it has seemingly failed to protect society’s most vulnerable from gambling related harm.
In October of 2019 it emerged that two-fifths of children aged between 11 and 16 had taken part in some form of gambling over the previous year. Whilst Coates might point to the fact that fruit machines, rather than online gambling, was the most popular form taken up by young people, the evidence suggests that people who gamble at a young age are more likely to develop a gambling problem in the future. The one thing that we don’t know, of course, is how much of her personal wealth Denise Coates gives to charities and organisations that work to help people with game ling problems.