Bet365 boss gets around £300m as pay during the first year of Covid19

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Denise Coates, the chief executive of UK gambling group Bet365, has received her first pay packet cut in recent times. Even after a significant pay cut, Coates would receive £250mn in the year to end on March 2021, according to accounts published late on Wednesday and first reported by Bloomberg. She inherited the business from her father, building it into a global brand and a leader in online betting. In 2019, she was paid £421mn.

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According to Bloomberg, the highest-paid executive in the world last year was Elon Musk, founder of Tesla. Musk received $6.7bn in total remuneration, with a significant portion in stock awards. Including the dividend, Coates’ remuneration put her slightly ahead of Tim Cook of Apple who earned $265mn in 2021. Despite her base salary falling by more than a third, Coates still earned more than 16 times the amount received by the FTSE 100’s best-paid chief executive Pascal Soriot of AstraZeneca in 2020, reported Financial Times.

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Thanks to the penetration of betting in global markets, Coates is consistently one of the UK’s highest-paid executives for more than five years. Bet365 holds betting licenses in at least 16 countries where gambling is regulated but the company also makes a substantial portion of its profits from shady operations in South Asia where gambling is prohibited and from China where gambling is not strictly allowed.

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Bet365 said the halt to sporting events early in the pandemic has hit revenues, Bet365 also cut television and radio advertising and promoted content on social media in recognition of the heightened risk of addiction to online gambling during protracted lockdowns. The Company said the pandemic had “a significant impact” on the group.

Group revenues for the year to the end of March 2021 were £2.8bn slightly lower than £3bn in 2019. The increase in profits was “largely attributed to a reduction in remuneration”, the group said, adding that overall sports wagers had decreased 13 percent compared with the previous year.

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Bet365 owns Stoke City Football Club that reported a pre-tax loss of £55.9mn in the year to March 2021 on a turnover of £29.3mn. The club was relegated from the Premier League in 2018 and suffered from the lack of spectators permitted at matches during the pandemic.

The global betting industry is estimated to be over US$ 218 billion and these entities have a major market share. The betting industry thrived worldwide during Covid19 induced lockdown despite a shrink in sports events on which the wager is based. In India, when most of the industries were suffering heavy losses, online gaming was at an all-time high.  Some estimates state that the sub-continent online betting market is bigger than the rest of the world combined. With sports betting so popular although illegal in the subcontinent, the online betting companies are adopting surrogate advertising through affiliate websites in form of News.