The British have never heard of her. Denise Coates shuns advertising. She’s only given a handful of press interviews, and she lives discreetly in Stoke-on-Trent, a town in the north of England. The salary of the boss and main shareholder of Bet365, an online gambling company, makes her the highest paid person in the UK. According to the accounts of her company, published discreetly in the British Trade Register, Thursday, November 9, she paid very precisely 199,305,000 pounds sterling between April 2016 and March 2017. Let’s say 200 million for a round account. At this level, we no longer count. It is almost 223 million euros.
What to make Martin Sorrell jealous, the boss of the highest paid companies of the FTSE 100, the index of the main British stock markets, which appears to be a small player, with 48 million pounds pocketed last year. The remuneration of Mme Coates is $ 76,000 an hour, generously estimating that she works sixty hours a week and takes only four weeks of vacation a year. Or, another unit of measure, it is the equivalent of 10,000 minimum wages.
The story of this entrepreneur is one of rare success in a city devastated by deindustrialization. When Stoke-on-Trent suffered the closure of mines, then internationally renowned pottery, M’s fatherme Coates has invested in a few betting shops. After studying econometrics at the University of Sheffield, her daughter decided to launch the family business on the Internet and mortgage the stores to finance the purchase of the Bet365 brand in the late 1990s.
The explosion of the Internet bubble in 2000 and the still slow speeds of connections made it difficult to get started. Unlike its competitors, the company is developing its own betting software, which increases its costs. But, today, Mme Coates has established his company at the top of British bookmakers. Bet365 and its nearly 4,000 employees attract stakes of £ 44 billion a year. Enough to generate a turnover of 2.1 billion pounds sterling and a net profit before tax of 524 million pounds last year.
The company remains today a family empire. Of the four board members, three are family: Denise, therefore, John, her brother, and their father, Peter. Family has become a fixture in Stoke-on-Trent. Bet365 notably owns Stoke City football club, currently 14e in the Premier League, England’s highest division. Salaries for all players last year stood at £ 94.2million. Not even half of M’s payme Coates. Football doesn’t pay anymore …