Gambling Company Executive’s $281 Million Salary Questioned- Deemed Not ‘Sensible and proportionate’

By: Lauren | Published: Jan 18, 2024

Many people around the world have heard of or even used the online gambling company Bet365, but far fewer people know much about the company’s owner, Denise Coates.

However, since the company’s accounts were published at the start of 2024, people absolutely do know who Denise Coates is, as well as how much she makes every year. And the overwhelming response is that Coates’ salary is far above “sensible and proportionate.”

Who Is Denise Coates?

Denise Coates is the founder, joint CEO, and majority shareholder in the popular online gambling company Bet365.

Denise Coates in front of piles of money and the logo for her company, Bet365

Source: @Denise-Coates/Facebook

Coates grew up in her family-owned bookmaking firm, and by 1995, she was running their chain of shops around the U.K. Then, in 2001, she launched essentially an online bookmaker called Bet365.


The History of Bet365

To start her online gambling business, Coates took out a £15 million loan against her existing business, and it ended up being the best risk she ever took. 


Source: Canva

Within just 15 years, Bet365 was bringing in more than $2 billion in revenue in just 12 months. As of 2023, Bet365 is worth an almost unbelievable $4.02 billion and is the largest online gambling company on the planet. 

How Does Bet365 Work?

Gambling on sporting events has been going on for centuries, but in today’s modern world, it’s easier than it’s ever been before. 

The sports book room at the Aquarius Hotel & Casino, Nevada

Source: George Rose/Getty Images

Someone who wants to gamble doesn’t have to go to a bookie’s to place their bet; they can do so online in seconds. Bet365 allows members to simply sign on, select a sporting event from around the world, see the odds, and select how much they’d like to wager. Then, the money they hopefully won will be in their account after the last buzzer. 

Bet365 Has More than 90 Million Customers

Every year, Bet365 has more than 90 million customers, proving just how many U.K. and global citizens love to bet on sporting events. 

Person participates in online sports betting on a phone and computer

Source: Linkedin

In fact, according to the U.K. Gambling Commission, 44% of its adult residents gambled in 2022–2023, and the entire British gambling industry had a $19.2 gross yield that year. 

Coates Is Making a Fortune in the Gambling Industry

Thanks to those 90 million annual customers, Denise Coates is making an absolute fortune from the business.

Array of denominations of Great British pounds

Source: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

In the company’s accounts that were published at the beginning of the year, it stated that Coates’ 2002–2023 salary was a whopping $281 million, which is a $10 million increase from the year before.


That Salary Doesn’t Include Her Income as Majority Shareholder

And that $281 million is just the base salary; it doesn’t include Coates’ additional income as the company’s majority shareholder. 

A general view inside the foyer of the London Stock Exchange

Source: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

In fact, Coates reportedly made an additional $127 million that fiscal year from her shares in Bet365, making her total income $408 million in just one year.


Denise Coates Also Makes More Money from Her Football Team

Denise Coates certainly doesn’t need additional income, but she does have another revenue stream, as she owns the Stoke City Football Club.

Denise Coates’ football team, Stoke City Football Club, celebrates a win

Source: @StokeCity/Facebook

When all is said and done, Coates is worth an estimated $6.8 billion, according to Forbes, making her one of the richest people on the planet. 


The World Responds to Coates’ Outrageous Income

The entire world is talking about Britain’s highest-paid woman, and several financial experts have weighed in on the discussion. 

Luke Hildyard, executive director of the High Pay Centre

Source: High Pay Center

Luke Hildyard, executive director of the High Pay Centre, said in a recent statement regarding Coates’ income, “People deserve to be rewarded for innovation and success, but there’s a question of what’s sensible and proportionate.”


The Rich Just Get Richer

Hildyard continued, “Ultimately, Britain’s prosperity depends on how the wealth our economy generates is shared.”

A general view of the Bet365 head office on June 23, 2020 in Stoke-on-Trent

Source: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

He said, “Pouring hundreds of millions of pounds more on top of billionaire fortunes every year isn’t a good way to maximize living standards, and it overvalues the contribution that the super-rich have made.”


U.K. Government Spends Millions on Gambling Problems

Of course, another facet to this argument is that while Coates makes hundreds of millions every year thanks to millions of gambles, the U.K. government has to spend millions to clean up the mess.

The House of Lords chamber, UK Parliament

Source: Kristy Wigglesworth-WPA Pool/Getty Images

One analysis reports that the U.K. government spent up to $525.6 million in regard to harmful gambling and related crimes (via CNN). 


Coates Pays Her Taxes and Donates to Charities

Those who believe that Coates is simply a wildly successful businessperson argue that she has done nothing wrong. In fact, as she paid $585 million in government taxes and donated $127 million to charity last year, she is actually an asset to the community and the economy.

The Denise Coates Foundation building

Source: Alamy

Either way, the debate of whether or not Coates and other billionaires are just good at what they do or are ruining the economy won’t be over any time soon.