“Denise Coates, the multibillionaire founder and boss of the gambling firm Bet365, paid herself £265m last year in a record-breaking pay deal for the chief executive of a British company.
The huge pay package, which equates to nearly £726,000 a day, dwarfs the previous UK record set by Coates when she collected £217m a year earlier.
Coates was paid a base salary of £220,004,000 in the year to March 2018, accounts filed at Companies House on Wednesday reveal. On top of this, she collected dividend payments of £45m from her more than 50% shareholding in the Stoke-based company. Bet365 made a £660m profit last year from a record £52.6bn of bets.
Her pay is more than 9,500 times the average UK salary, 1,300 times that collected by the prime minister and more than double that paid to the entire Stoke City football team, which Bet365 owns and which was relegated from the Premier League last season.
Luke Hildyard, a director of the High Pay Centre, said: “Why does someone who is already a billionaire need to take such an obscene amount of money out of their company? It is difficult to find a reason beyond pure greed.
“A payment of this size would be impossible to justify for someone whose business was in unquestionably life-enhancing products or services. It is doubly offensive when awarded to a betting company CEO at a time when problem gambling is spiralling out of control.”
Mike Dixon, the chief executive of the addiction charity Addaction, said: “It’s astonishing that a CEO of one gambling company is paid 26 times more than the entire industry’s contribution to treatment. We know problem gambling affects more than 2 million people. We need a proper levy on gambling industry profits so more people can get help and support.” …