Silence Is Golden, Denise Coates Remains UK’s Richest Woman Despite Big Dip in bet365 Revenues

Despite a big slump in profits, bet365, characteristically, is keeping schtum, but Chief Executive Denise Coates remains the UK’s richest woman, proving, if anything, that silence is golden.

Coates–who founded the masters of in-play sports betting in 2000, in a Stoke-on-Trent car park in the British Midlands, operating from a portable cabin office–was awarded a salary of £213 million (US$256.89m/€241.94m) in the bet365 financial year ending March 2022, according to just-released company accounts – despite a sharp fall in profits.

As bet365’s major shareholder, 55-year-old Coates is also entitled to half the iGaming firm’s £100 million dividend for the year (US$120.6m/€113.58m).

Year-on-year, bet365 pre-tax profits slumped by around 90 per cent to just £49 million (US$59.09m/€55.65m) – their lowest level since 2008.

The notoriously tight-lipped iGaming giants blame the dive on a massive £320 million increase (US$385.94m/€363.48m) in “administration expenses and marketing costs”, as they sought to expand their business and market share in newly-regulated North America states, Argentina and The Netherlands.

Few can remember when, or even if, Coates and her fellow directors–her brother and co-Chief Executive John Coates, her husband Richard Smith and father Peter Coates, the company Chair–have ever spoken to the media.

And for the Coates “silence has, indeed, proved to be golden”.

iGaming Pioneer

According to the oft-touted Sunday Times Rich List, Denise Coates (pictured, left) is the richest woman and highest paid female business leader in the UK, dwarfing the remuneration of most other executive big beasts.

Over the past three years she has received nearly £1 billion from bet365 (US$1.2bn/€1.13bn), with her salary topping £421 million the year before the Covid19 pandemic (US$507.75m/€478.2m), while in 2021 she received £250 million (US$301.74m/€284.05m).

Crucially and critically from a potentially negative media perspective–where success is often criticised and not celebrated–she has not sought tax exile and continues to pay massive returns to The Exchequer.

As iGaming pioneers and “inventors” of in-play betting, bet365 has continued to expand its cutting-edge digital infrastructure and technology.

If it has an Achilles heel then arguably it’s its loss-making sponsorship with the “lamentable” Stoke City FC, currently languishing near the foot of second-tier English football, despite considerable investment from the Coates family.

Bet365 revenues grew by two per cent to £2.87 billion during its FY ending March 2022 (US$3.46bn/€3.25bn), and its number of active customers grew by almost 50 per cent.

But, according to gambling industry experts, its average revenue-per-user fell by almost a third.

In common with pretty much every other sportsbook heavy-hitter, bet365 has had to increase marketing budgets and “sweeteners” to win lower-spending users in emerging markets.

It remains to be seen if the company will indeed “take” America, as previously posited by iGamingFuture.

But few, not least the 6,000-plus employees of bet365 in Stoke-on-Trent, would begrudge Denise Coates and her family their billions, built on hard work, innovation and integrity.

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