This Gambling Bigwig's Salary Is Really Flush, Critics Say

Think tank slams Bet365 CEO Denise Coates' $280M as not being 'sensible or proportionate'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2024 12:45 PM CST
Gambling Exec Made $280M, Despite Firm's $77M Loss
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Oleg Elkov)

A billionaire gambling exec added to her bank account substantially last year, in a salary increase that has some pushing back. The BBC reports that Denise Coates, founder and CEO of the online gambling firm Bet365, saw a nearly $9 million paycheck bump in 2023, with her salary jumping to around $281 million, per company records. That doesn't count the $127 million in dividends that the 56-year-old will receive a large portion of, as she's the company's majority shareholder, owning about 57%.

For context on Coates' salary, Fortune notes that Britain's richest businesswomen now earns more than Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who brings home $226 million annually, at last look. Coates' salary also dwarfs that of the UK's prime minister: Rishi Sunak is paid just short of $253,000. But it's not just the comparison to other bigwigs that has some grumbling about Coates' salary: It's the fact that Bet365 didn't do so hot in 2023, seeing pretax losses of nearly $77 million.

One campaign group is now slamming the news, which CNN notes comes amid a "cost-of-living crisis" in the UK. "People deserve to be rewarded for innovation and success, but there's a question of what's sensible and proportionate," Luke Hildyard, head of the High Pay Centre think tank, says in a statement. "Nobody becomes a multibillionaire in isolation from wider society. ... Pouring hundreds of millions ... 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." Forbes notes that Coates launched the online gambling site in 2001, a year after she scooped up the domain. (More executive compensation stories.)

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