In Brief

Who’s the richest woman in the UK?

The highest-paid woman in British corporate history pockets a cool £220m a year – excluding dividends

Online gambling mogul Denise Coates is the best-paid woman in the world and the sixth richest person in the UK, according to the latest issue of Forbes magazine. 

Coates, who founded the gambling group Bet365 and is worth an estimated $6.5bn, is the only British woman to make Forbes’s richest people in the world list who isn’t ranked alongside a spouse or other family members. Arcadia Group owners Christina and Philip Green are 617th richest in the world, while real estate moguls Maritsa Lazari and her family sit at number 916.

All other UK billionaires are male. 

The female boss, who ranks at 244 on Forbes’s list, is the founder and co-chief executive of the online gambling firm Bet365. The 51-year-old and her brother John – the UK’s 19th richest person – own the company alongside other members of their direct family, including their father, Bet365 chairman Peter Coates.

Bet365 is the largest private sector employer in Stoke. Millions of customers worldwide use the website to take part in sports betting, poker, casino games and bingo. Online gambling has been on the rise for years – last year Bet365 saw its revenues increase by 25%. 

Coates sparked outrage last year for awarding herself a salary of £220m, excluding dividends, a record-breaking pay packet that made her the highest-paid CEO in the UK. Her salary rose by £145m from 2016 to 2017, an increase the BBC attributes to online gambling’s rising popularity.

The entrepreneur’s pay is more than 9,500 times the average UK salary, 1,700 times that of the prime minister and more than double that of the Stoke City football team, which Bet365 owns, says The Guardian

Coates, who graduated with a first in econometrics from Sheffield University, began her career at the high street betting firm. In 2000, she saw the potential of online gambling and invested in the domain Bet365.com.

She launched the website the following year. 

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