Billionaire founder of betting firm paid herself an 'excessive' $279 million

    bet365 Chief Executive Denise Coates was awarded a CBE medal in 2012.

    (CNN)The billionaire founder and boss of gambling company Bet365 has paid herself a record-breaking amount for the chief executive of a British company, taking home $279 million in 2017, according to the latest accounts.

    Denise Coates, the joint chief executive of the British-based gambling firm, was paid £220 million ($283m) in the year to March 25. Her 50% stake in the company, which is not listed on the stock market, also entitled her to a £45 million ($57 million) dividend. Apple CEO Tim Cook's total compensation was $12.8 million in 2017.
      The payout makes the 51-year-old Englishwoman the best-paid boss in Britain and the highest-paid female chief executive in the world, while her income is more than double that paid to the entire Stoke City football team, which Bet365 owns. Last season Stoke was relegated from the English Premier League.
      According to the Gambling Commission, Britain has the largest online gambling market in the world -- a 32% market share of the gambling industry as a whole, which generated £13.8 billion ($17.7 billion) from October 2015 to September 2016.
      In 2015, there was an estimated 430,000 problem gamblers in Britain, with a further two million "at risk" of problem gambling.
      According to GambleAware in 2016, problem gamblers were costing the British government between £260 million ($334 million) and £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) per year.
      Bet365 heavily advertises during football matches and high-profile sporting events.

      'Slightly obscene'

      Those campaigning against gambling addiction were critical of Coates' decision to award herself such a sum. Over the past four years she has earned £665 million ($856m).
      Labour Member of Parliament Carolyn Harris, who has led research into the effects of gambling, described the figure as "slightly obscene," while Vince Cabl