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Bet365 owner Coates slips to third in top UK taxpayer list

| By Robert Fletcher
Denise Coates, founder of Bet365, has fallen to third in the annual list of the top taxpayers in the UK, while Betfred’s Fred and Peter Done climbed to fourth.
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Published each year by The Times newspaper, the Tax List features the top 100 UK taxpayers. Those on this year’s list paid a collective £5.35bn (€6.27bn/$6.81bn) in tax during 2023.

The Coates family, including Denise, John and Peter Coates – Bet365’s co-chief executives and chairman – paid £375.9m in tax. This was down from the £460.2m that was reported in the 2023 list.

Denise Coates is the richest self-made woman in the UK, launching Bet365 from a car park in Stoke-on-Trent. The Times said Coates last year paid herself a total of £220.0m.

As for Betfred, Fred and Peter Done paid £204.6m in tax, up from £136.8m in 2023. This was enough to push them up to fourth in the list, albeit some way behind the Coates family in third.

Fred and Peter Done are the sons of an illegal bookmaker that went legit by launching Betfred in 1967.

XTX Markets founder retains top taxpayer spot

For the second consecutive year, XTX Markets founder Alex Gerko topped the Times’ Tax List. In total, he paid £664.5m, up from £487.4m in 2022 after almost doubling his net worth in a year.

Formula 1 tycoon Bernie Ecclestone took second spot with £652.6m in tax. However, this was not a true reflection of his activity in 2023, having been forced to pay £650.0m in tax and penalties to HMRC to avoid jail. Ecclestone failed to declare more than £400.0m held in a Singapore trust when asked by authorities in 2015.

As for the rest of the top 10, Sir Tim Martin, founder of pub chain Wetherspoons, was fifth with £167.1m in tax. Dyson founder Sir James Dyson was sixth on £156.0m and the Weston family, which is behind Primark and Fortnum and Mason, placed seventh with £146.2m.

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley ranked eighth with £139.4m and Triumph Motorcycles head John Bloor was ninth with £118.1m. Cobbler tycoon John Timpson rounded off the top 10 with £99.8m tax paid.

Bet365 posts £61.2m loss despite revenue growth

Bet365’s inclusion in the list comes after the operator reported a £61.2m loss for 2022-23. This was despite it also posting an increase in sports betting and gaming revenue.

The loss comes in contrast to a £42.8m profit posted in the previous year. Bet365 put the loss down to an increase in costs across the business.

However, it was not all bad news. Sports betting and gaming revenue for the year climbed 18.9% to £3.39bn. This included a 15.0% rise in sports betting revenue and a 31% hike in gaming revenue in 2022-23.

Alongside this, there was also a 29% rise in new customers, although this was lower than the previous year’s 48% increase.

Betfred is yet to report results for 2022-23. Its most recent figures cover 2021-22 and show a 38.8% rise in gross profit to £542.9m.

The total amount wagered with Betfred for the year was £8.80bn, rising by 25.8% year-on-year. Net profit for the year was £19.5m, a rise of £14.3m from 2021.

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