Bet365 Boss Donates £10 Million to NHS

Bet365 boss Denise Coates has donated a generous £10 million to an NHS trust. The chief executive made the donation to offer support to hospital staff working on the front line against the coronavirus outbreak. University Hospitals of North Midlands, the trust that serves her home city of Stoke-on-Trent, will be able to use the money to purchase essential equipment and help staff and patients impacted by COVID-19.

A hospital doctor in blue scrubs and facemask performs an operation.

The £10 million donation from the Bet365 boss will help hospitals in the North Midlands in battling COVID-19. ©Artur Tumasjan/Unsplash

“Patron of the Potteries”

The £10 million donation from the Denise Coates Foundation will go a long way to help the UHNM trust during these difficult times. The money will be put towards supporting staff and increasing patient provisions at the Royal Stoke Hospital and the County Hospital in Stafford.

“The trustees of the Foundation are committed to supporting the efforts of the University Hospitals of North Midlands, as it, its staff and its wider community of carers and volunteers face what must be the most demanding circumstances in the hospitals and, indeed, the NHS’s history. It and they stand on the front line in the battle against COVID-19. We have all seen and heard the events unfold in the media as day after day the number of those infected increases and the number of those who tragically lost their lives also rises.”Denise Coates CBE, CEO, Bet365

According to the UHNM trust, the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the lack of important technology on hand needed to fight the virus effectively. While some of the charitable donation will be invested in new technology, money will also be funneled into improving communications between staff, patients and their families.

Mental health and social care services will also benefit, in a move that aims to extend support into communities. By supporting communities during this crisis, some of the pressure on hospitals will be relieved. Another portion of the donation has been earmarked for the UHNM’s cancer center, which will “have a legacy far beyond COVID-19”.

Coates chose these hospitals to receive the donation, as they are local to the area in which she grew up and built her business. Bet365 is still based in Stoke-on-Trent, although the business has since moved out of the portakabin it started life in, back in 2000. Throughout it’s meteoric rise, Coates has kept the company rooted close to home, continuing to run it alongside her brother, John Coates, and her father, Peter Coates.

“There are many stories of people suffering without the comfort of close friends and family as restrictions on people’s movement prevent loved ones visiting. This is why I and the other trustees felt we had to step forward and approach the UHNM to see what we could do to help. We are sure that the funding the Foundation provides will make a huge difference to the Hospital, the staff and more broadly the people of North Staffordshire and the surrounding area.”

On behalf of the UHNM, chief executive Tracy Bullock has thanked the Denise Coates Foundation for its generous donation.

“Thanks to the Denise Coates Foundation, we will be able to prioritize the well-being of our staff at a time when they are working harder than ever before in extremely challenging circumstances and enhance and improve the care and experience of our patients and their families.”

Peter Coates, father of Denise Coates is a director at Bet365, as well as chairman of Stoke City F.C. Speaking to talkSport, Peter emphasized the importance of funding the NHS even when this crisis is over. He also explained that staff at Bet365 and Stoke City would be looked after. Employees are to be paid in full until the end of August. Even matchday staff will get paid for each postponed game.

“We are all in this together and all these people are part of our business, and in what we all do together they are all important. We feel everyone should be treated and looked after in the same way.”

Denise Coates has earned the nickname “patron of the potteries”, for continuing to base Bet365 in Stoke. The sports betting firm is now the largest private-sector employer in the area, as well as one of the largest online gambling companies in the world. For this, Coates was granted a CBE in 2012, for services to the community and to business.

The Denise Coates Foundation, originally named the Bet365 Foundation, was set up in August 2012. It has so far donated over £100 million to more than twenty British charities. These include charities like Oxfam and CAFOD, as well as relief programs and hospices. The Foundation has also given grants towards university scholarships.

Virtual Grand National Wins for NHS

While this donation the NHS trust might be a huge sum, Denise Coates will certainly be no worse off without it. Upon receiving her £323 million pay packet at the beginning of this year, Coates broke her own record for setting the highest CEO pay in the UK.

In 2017, Coates became the highest paid woman in UK corporate history. Her salary has since grown year on year. According to figures gathered by Forbes, Coates’ net worth is thought to be around $6.3 billion.

Coates has faced criticism over her high earnings, as some have accused her charitable donations of being too low in comparison. In 2017, CEO of Addaction, Mike Dixon, called her out for her high salary. “It cannot be right that the CEO of a betting company is paid 22 times more than the whole industry ‘donates’ to treatment.”

While this £10 million donation may not constitute a large proportion of Coates’ overall wealth, it will certainly make a huge difference to the UHNM trust and the hospitals on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.

The donation from the Denise Coates Foundation is not the only act of charity from the sports betting sector this week. The Betting and Gaming Council has announced that last weekend’s ‘Virtual Grand National’ raised more than £2.6 million for NHS charities.

As the real-life Grand National was cancelled, due to COVID-19, ITV decided to air a ‘virtual’ competition to keep fans entertained. The novel solution turned out to be a hit, as 4.8 million tuned in to watch on the day. £2.6 million was raised for NHS Charities Together, which encompasses over 140 NHS charities.

For this year’s real race, Tiger Roll was tipped to win for a record-breaking third time in a row. However, as the surprising results for the virtual race came in, Potters Corner took the top spot as Tiger Roll finished in fourth place.

“We are overwhelmed with the public support for the virtual Grand National and the support shown for NHS Charities Together. When the nation was in much need of some light relief, millions joined in the fun in honor of one of Britain’s greatest sporting events and helped raise a fantastic amount for our brave heroes in the NHS.”Michael Dugher, Chief Executive, Betting and Gaming Council

The Jockey Club will also be donating 10,000 tickets to the NHS and to social care providers in Merseyside for the 2021 Randox Health Grand National.

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