While many in the industry were busy analysing the 2019 GE, the result and the expected effect on the gambling industry, some major industry players were too busy collecting the fruits of their success. Namely, it has been reported that Denise Coates received a total of £323 million last year, a remarkable result which, according to many, can be considered evidence that there is no crisis in the industry. Moreover, this is likely to be used by opponents of online gambling as an argument for more restrictive legislation. The argument would be that if a director can earn that much money, the industry is making more than enough and should pay its fair share of tax.
The pressure is mounting on gambling companies already, earlier this year, in November, the all party group that deals with issues related to gambling harm concluded that a betting limit should be implemented at online casinos.
Coates’s salary amounted to £265m in 2018
While there are other company directors that receive high salaries, but this is an ultimate record, and to make things even more surprising, the previous record is also held by Denise Coates, who paid herself £265m in 2018.
If we divide the amount of money that she has received, it turns out that Denies received about £1.3 million for every working day last year. This is staggering 9,500 times more than what the average worker in the UK earns and about 2,000 times more than what the prime minister earns.
Coates’s base salary amounted to over £276 million in the year to March 2018. And on top of the salary, she also received a dividend worth £45 million, as she owns more than half of the shares of bet365 – the largest company in Stoke-on-Trent.
The timing of the releases was branded cynical
In the past three years, Coates was paid a total of £817 million, an amount matched by very few people. She was accused of delaying the release of records, as the figure was released coincidently or not right after election day.
As you probably heard during the campaign, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, pledged to enforce a crackdown on the wealthy elite and excessive corporate pay deals.
The High Pay Centre is an organisation that campaigns against excessive salaries for executives, and Luke Hildyard who is a member of the organisation stated that the timing of the release of the figure was rather cynical. Hildyard, stated that the fact that the figure was published after a general election where excess wealth and increased taxation for the rich were central topics, points that were key during the election campaign shows that Coates is playing with the public and its sentiments.