Online gambling firm Bet365 has released accounts detailing the firm’s compensation.  The highest paid director is Denise Coates, with her pay rising to £265m including dividends, making her the UK’s best paid director.  Her earning this year are £48m higher than the total she received last year as the popularity of online gambling continues to grow.

The company is held privately, jointly owned by Ms Coates and her family, including her brother John who is joint chief executive and her father Peter, the firm’s chairman.

Ms Coates lives in Cheshire with her husband, Richard Smith, who also serves as the firm’s property director, and her five children.  Following graduating with a first class degree in econometrics – the application of statistical methods to economic data – from Sheffield University, she joined the High Street betting firm, run by her father.  Early on, she saw the potential in the internet to provide a platform for gambling and in 2000 she bought the domain name Bet365.com, planning to expand the business from the high street shops to the huge online market.

Bet365 is now the largest private sector employer in Stoke and is used by millions of gamblers worldwide who bet on sports, poker, casino, games, and bingo. The accounts showed that the firm’s revenues grew by 25% in the year to the end of March and operating profit was up by 31%.

Online gaming is facing mounting criticism over its impact on some customers who have become addicted or accumulated large debts.

Bet365 have said they continue to develop strategies to identify gamblers at risk and to “help customers bet responsibly”.

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