Britain’s richest woman Denise Coates wins another £250m on Bet365 Business

Denise Coates, Britain’s richest woman, has taken a £170m pay cut as growth stalls at her sprawling bet365 gambling empire.

Ms Coates’ salary has risen from £421million to £250million for the year to March 2021, according to documents filed on Thursday. Additionally, she received her share of a £98m dividend alongside her brother John and father Peter.

The shy media executive who launched Bet365 from a mobile cubicle two decades ago remains one of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Bet365 claims to be the largest sports betting brand in the world. It’s a far cry from the website Ms Coates set up with her brother when they mortgaged her father’s betting shops for a £15million loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2001.

“I was convinced early on that the game would work on the Internet,” she once said in a rare interview with her local newspaper.

But after several years of rapid growth, filings today reveal turnover was broadly stable at £2.8bn, despite online rivals Bet365 thriving thanks to a gambling boom on the Internet during the pandemic.

In her review of the year contained in the annual report, Ms Coates said growth was hit by “a complete shutdown of sporting events” when the pandemic hit. Customers had instead switched to other online betting products such as bingo and casino.

“This, together with the significant migration of customers during the various sports betting to gaming lockdowns, led to overall revenues remaining broadly flat,” she said.

Ms Coates and Bet365 are renowned for avoiding the limelight, preferring only their adverts, which are regularly seen on perimeter boards at football matches and on television.

Bet365 has been rocked by claims it makes much of its revenue in China, where citizens have been arrested for gambling. The operator has hidden little of its activity in China, which it says is perfectly legal.

Basically, he claims, operating a website accessible in China from outside China and providing its services remotely in China is not against the law.

Questions about where bet365 makes its money will again be raised as bet365 said it would be “seriously damaging” to provide a geographical breakdown of where it makes its money.

Bet365 was rejected by New York State after applying for a gambling license. The Coates family even vowed never to sell, merge or float bet365 in a lengthy petition to officials. New York has instead chosen to name British rivals Flutter, the company behind Paddy Power and Betfair, and Entain, whose brands include Ladbrokes and Coral, among nine licensed operators in the key state.

Despite Ms Coates’ salary cut, her family is likely to remain the UK’s biggest taxpayer. Known for their support for Labour, the Coates could lower their tax bill simply by paying themselves more dividends.

Last year the family paid £615million to HM Revenue and Customs.

Charitable giving rose from £87m to £103m in the year to March 2021.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-03 16:22:35

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