UK gambling top taxpayers contribute £629m but bet365 loses leadership position

UK betting top taxpayers contribute £629m but bet365 drops down

The Times has published its list of the top UK taxpayers in 2023, revealing that bet365 Founder and Owner Denise Coates has lost her leadership position in the table.

The Coates family – owners of the bet365 Group, its B2C betting brand, Hillside Technology holding and by extension Stoke City FC – paid £460.2m in UK taxes in 2022.

This represents a 75% cut on the previous year, although the family still remain the second largest taxpayers in the UK, and bet365 has experienced a decline in profit of late. 

Covering the entirety of its operations, including betting and gaming and the football club, bet365 Group’s profit dropped by 89% in March 2022 from £424.7m to £45.6m.

Coates took a pay cut of over £15m to compensate for the decline in growth – despite this, the firm remains a leading taxpayer in the UK.

However, the Coates family remain the largest taxpayer for 2019-2023, having paid £1.95bn during this time period, contributing £800m more than the next biggest taxpayer.

Also present on the Times’ list were Fred and Peter Done, owners of retail giant and online bookmaker Betfred, who paid £136.8m in 2023, and £542.4m from 2019-2023.

Overall, as of January 2023, Britain’s top taxpayers from the gambling sector contributed a total of £629.9m according to the Times, down 3.3% from £651.5m in 2022 and 17.5% from £764.3m in 2021.

On the other hand, this figure is still substantially more than the £320.5m and £156m paid in 2020 and 2019 – growth rates of 49% and 75% respectively. 

The figures do come in the context of greater scrutiny of both gambling and the income inequality in the UK in general, ahead of the 2005 Gambling Act review White Paper and cost of living crisis.

Commenting on the list, Carys Roberts, Chief Executive of IPPR – described by the Times as a ‘left leaning think tank‘ – criticised UK firms that have overseas registered offices.

Currently, Betfred’s online business is based in Gibraltar and trading as Petfre, whilst bet365 has offices in Gibraltar and Malta, although both companies maintain respective HQ’s in Salford, Greater Manchester, and Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

“The Tax List holds up a mirror to our society in which some people have vast wealth and income, and in which many of the richest do not contribute their fair share, for example by using offshore centres,” Roberts said.

Additionally, advocates of gambling reform have called for an overhaul of the sector’s finances, with a recent report by Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) estimating the total costs to government and the NHS between £1.05bn and £1.77bn.

However, in response to such criticisms, the industry – in particular the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) – has repeatedly pointed to the high tax contribution made by companies such as bet365 and Betfred to government coffers.

The BGC has often pointed to figures of £4.5bn and £7.7bn in gross value added to the wider economy as indicative of the gambling industry’s financial contribution to the UK, as the final judgement on the future of British betting looms ‘in the coming months’. 

SBC News UK betting top taxpayers contribute £629m but bet365 drops down

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