Denise Coates, co-founder, and owner of bet365 has lost the position as the UK’s highest taxpayer, according to the Times’ 2023 tax list. The Coates family, who own bet365 Group, Hillside Technology, and Stoke City FC, paid £460.2m in UK taxes in 2022, a 75% decrease from the previous year.
Second Largest Tax Contributor
Despite the decline in profits, bet365 remains the second largest taxpayer in the UK, having paid £1.95bn from 2019-2023, a contribution of £800m more than the next largest taxpayer. Fred and Peter Done, the owners of retail giant and online bookmaker Betfred, paid £136.8m in 2023 and a total of £542.4m from 2019-2023. The gambling sector’s top taxpayers contributed £629.9m in 2023, a 3.3% decrease from 2022, but still 49% and 75% more than what was paid in 2020 and 2019 respectively. The Times’ list comes amidst increased scrutiny of the gambling sector and income inequality in the UK, ahead of the Gambling Act review White Paper and cost of living crisis. Carys Roberts, CEO of IPPR, criticized UK firms with overseas registered offices. Betfred’s online business is based in Gibraltar, while bet365 has offices in Gibraltar and Malta, but both companies maintain headquarters in Greater Manchester and Staffordshire.
Overhaul of the UK Gambling Sector
Advocates of gambling reform have called for an overhaul of the sector’s finances, with a report estimating the total cost to the government and the NHS between £1.05bn and £1.77bn. The industry, particularly the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has repeatedly pointed to the high tax contribution made by companies such as bet365 and Betfred, and the £4.5bn and £7.7bn added to the economy as indicative of the gambling industry’s financial contribution to the UK. The future of British betting will be determined in the coming months.