Gambling giant bet365 saw revenue fall by eight per cent to £2.8 billion in 2019/20.
The latest financial accounts from the Stoke-on-Trent company – which owns a majority stake in Stoke City Football Club – revealed that both revenue and profit decreased in the 53 weeks to March 29, 2020.
Revenue dropped to £2.8 billion down from £3.06 billion for the previous year, while operating profit for the group fell almost 75 per cent to £194.1 million from £758.3 million – this includes an £87.2 million pound loss from Stoke City.
But the company still managed to create 469 new jobs during the 12-month period, increasing its total workforce to 5,177 from 4,708.
It was good news for the company’s joint chief executive, Denise Coates CBE too, who received a £421 million pay packet – and a £95 million dividend during the year.
Ms Coates’ brother, John and father Peter Coates, also received the £95 million dividend. This is an increase on £92.5 million the previous year.
In the annual report, Ms Coates – who is bet365’s highest paid director – said: “I am pleased to report that the Group continued to make considerable progress during the period, particularly in the priority area of safer gambling, where significant investment and developments have been made.
“The period also saw the initial impact of Covid-19, with sport at all levels halted across the world. I am delighted with how the group responded and adapted to these challenging circumstances. We continued to operate the business successfully throughout the lockdowns with business continuity plans enacted resulting in staff being able to work from home whilst significant investment was also made to ensure the office environments were Covid secure.
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“With the mass cancellation of international sporting events, between March and May 2020, the business switched its focus to alternative offerings, such as virtual sports and esports betting whilst also experiencing a significant migration of customers from sports betting to gaming.”
The Denise Coates Foundation – which supports charitable causes – received an £85 million contribution from bet365 during the period. The charity subsequently handed over £10 million to the NHS to support its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.