A Brit gambling magnate is believed to have taken home the biggest ever annual pay packet in the UK – a staggering £469 million.
Denise Coates, joint Chief Executive of bet365, received a £421m salary and a share of £48m of dividends in the 12 months to March 29, 2020.
The eye-watering sums work out at around £54,000 an hour, and the company defended it as "appropriate and fair".
However, Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said: “It's appallingly inefficient for single individuals to hoard wealth in this way.’”
Ms Coates founded the betting website 20 years ago in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
The 53-year-old risked everything when she took out a £15m loan to launch the firm from a portable cabin in a car park in 2000, Stoke-on-Trent Live reports.
The family had run Provincial Racing betting shops but she saw the future online.
Ms Coates said: "I was convinced early on that gambling would work well on the internet.
"It is private, accessible and allows you to present a huge range of betting opportunities to customers.
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"For the first few years of the business, we still had betting shops, but, for me, although I had managed to build them into a really strong regional chain, we were always going to be significantly smaller than the national chains.
"The internet gave us the opportunity to enter a new and international market where we had the possibility of being the best."
Ms Coates learned her trade in Provincial Racing, first working as a cashier and then studying econometrics at the University of Sheffield.
She took out a £15m loan from RBS, secured against her chain of betting shops, and the bet365.com website was launched in 2001.
Four years later, the new venture was so successful that she sold that chain of high street shops to Coral for £40m.
They remain a family business – brother John is joint-chief executive – and are proud of their local roots.
"I am a local person and it is important to me that the area is as successful as it can be," she said.
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"It’s great to show that what is essentially a technology firm can be successful in this area. The area has its fair share of bad press, but it is home to a lot of talented, hard-working people."
Ms Coates' fortune has allowed her to donate millions to charity through the Denise Coates Foundation, including £10 million to the Royal Stoke University Hospital at the start of the pandemic.
Bet365 has also paid £85 million to the charity during the pandemic.
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