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UK’s richest woman gets $648 million pay from betting empire

Denise Coates has hit the jackpot yet again.

The 53-year-old founder and chief executive officer of Bet365 Group Ltd. pocketed 468.9 million pounds ($648 million) in pay and dividends, almost 50% more than a year earlier, according to a filing from the online bookmaker.

Her salary of 421.2 million pounds from the closely held British firm makes her one of the world’s best-paid bosses. It also strengthens her status as the U.K.’s richest woman, adding to a fortune already among the world’s 500 largest, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Coates has earned more than $1.5 billion over the past decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Founded about two decades ago, Bet365’s business has benefited from the growing popularity of online sports betting. The Stoke-on-Trent, England-based company posted revenue of 2.8 billion pounds for the financial year ended March 29, 2020, an 8% drop from a year earlier as the Covid-19 pandemic curbed sports wagering. Operating profit fell by more than half to 194.7 million pounds, partly due to Coates’s salary increasing from 276.6 million pounds.

A representative for Coates didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

After graduating from Sheffield University with a degree in econometrics, Coates trained to become an accountant and took over a small chain of betting shops her father owned on the side. She became managing director of the business at age 22, according to a Staffordshire University release, and expanded the number of shops before deciding to shift the business online. Along with Bet365, Coates and her family also own Stoke City Football Club.

Coates is the only woman among 17 U.K. billionaires on Bloomberg’s wealth index, which includes Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Joe Lewis, owner of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

Coates donated 10 million pounds toward the U.K.’s effort to fight Covid-19 last year, while Bet365 contributed 85 million pounds to her foundation in its latest accounts. The Denise Coates Foundation had net assets of 337.8 million pounds at the end of March 2019, its latest filing shows.

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