Denise Coates Becomes the Best-Paid Executive in the UK

Denise Coates

You may not have heard of Denise Coates but by the time you finish this article you’ll probably wish she was your best friend. Coates – the co-owner and joint-CEO of bet365 – has been revealed as the most well-remunerated executive in the UK, after bet365’s 2017-18 accounts showed she has an annual pay package of £323 million (about $423 million). Her salary is now £227 million (up from £220 million the previous financial year), and she has received £96 million on top of that from dividends from shares in her company.

This eye-popping amount of cash is the record amount of money ever paid to any UK executive, defeating the previous record of $265 million held by … Denise Coates.

So, how did Denise Coates become so fabulously wealthy? Here we take a quick look at Coates’ history in the world of sports betting and online casinos, outlining the career of the one of the UK’s most successful-ever businesspersons.

From humble beginnings … well, not exactly …

The story of Denise begins with her father, Peter Coates. Born into relative poverty, Peter worked at UK fast-food company Wimpey before creating his own extremely successful catering firm. When he sold that he bought a chain of failing betting shops called ‘Provincial Racing’.

After graduating from University, Denise was brought in to manage the failing chain, alongside her brother, John. Sensing that the internet betting boom was about to commence, Denis paid £10,000 for the domain name bet365.com and, after raising £15 million from the Royal Bank of Scotland by mortgaging the company’s fleet of betting shops, created bet365.

The emphasis was online, not off …

Bet365 of course were not the only fledgling sports betting company to appear online in those early days of internet-based betting. Huge names like Ladbrokes, William Hill and Victor Chandler were also making inroads into appearing online, however they all had a different attitude to bet365.

With the other betting companies, they took the stance that they were real-world betting companies where you could also bet online. Denise took the opposite stance – bet365 were an online betting company where you can also bet in the real-world, as the chain of ailing betting shops had been renamed from Provincial Racing to bet365.

The more wagering options, the better …

In addition, companies such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral were keen to preserve their reputation as sports betting companies. Bet365 swiftly diversified, adding slots, casino games, poker and even bingo to their site.

And there was more! Denise quickly realised that the developing smartphone market was an ideal place for sports bettors. Bet365 were quick to release apps to allow punters to easily bet on their favourite events via their iPhones and Android-powered devices.

It’s time to cut ties with the real-world …

The profits from the online enterprises of bet365 quickly eclipsed those made via their real-world betting shops. In yet another stupendously accurate move, Denise predicted the demise of the betting shop, and sold all of bet365’s real-world wagering outlets. The mugs … sorry … company that purchased all these assets – Coral – did so for £50 million. Now bet365 became purely an online concern.

Before Denise had come on board Peter Coates has taken a controlling interest in his beloved Stoke City football club, but had sold his shares in the club in 1999. Flushed with cash, the Coates family took over the Stoke helm again in 2006, with Peter becoming Chairman. Buoyed with bet365’s cash Stoke City reached the English Premier League for the first time in their history in 2008, and enjoyed 10 successful seasons in UK football’s top division until their relegation in 2018.

Bet365 does play it fair, though …

Bet365 were a UK company, are a UK company and are unlikely ever not to be a UK company. Unlike rivals William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Coral they have not moved certain wagering operations offshore so they can benefit from tax breaks. Bet365 are recognised as the second-highest tax-payers in the country, after JJB Sports. In 2018 bet365 made a pre-tax profit of £791 million, which means a massive tax bill.

Denise also runs the Denise Coates Foundation, which has in the past donated to charities like the Douglas Macmillan Hospice and Oxfam, and continues to do so. In 2018 it was estimated that the foundation had donated £10 million to charity over the past financial year.

If you are struggling to get your head around Denise’s jaw-dropping salary, then if you assume that she works standard UK office hours, every day she goes home £1.3 million richer. That’s a rate of £37,000 per hour, or £620 per minute, or even £10 every second! Nice work if you can get it!

BONUS READ: Why do we like to Gamble So Much? A New Study Hopes to Find Out Why

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