The founders of betting and gaming giant Bet365 paid taxes of £276m (€327.9m/$361.3m) in the 2018-19 fiscal year, making it the UK’s biggest taxpayer for the first time.
The Coates family, comprising Bet365 co-chief executives Denise and John, and the business’ chair Peter, moved ahead of JD Sports founder Stephen Rubin and his family to top the Sunday Times’ Tax List, having come second for 2017-19. Their total wealth was estimated at £6.86bn.
Their contribution to public finances was almost double the £143.9m paid by the Rubin family, according to the newspaper’s estimates. This would be enough to pay 11,324 newly-qualified teachers’ salaries, based on minimum starting pay, the paper noted.
The Times estimates that the business’ corporation tax payments, on profits which grew 14.8% year-on-year to £758.3m, to be around £43m in 2018-19. As its base remains in Stoke, rather than in Gibraltar or Malta, it paid an estimated £78.3m in social security contributions over the year.
Denise Coates, who the paper described as “the country’s most impressive self-made woman”, was paid an estimated £276.6m, it continued. On this, she is likely to have paid income tax and national insurance contributions of around £130m.
The operator paid a further £113.2m in UK corporation and payroll taxes, with a further £32.8m in tax thought to have been paid on dividends.
“Over the past two years, Bet365 has also handed £160m to the Denise Coates Foundation, a charity run by the family,” The Times added.
However, it noted that in the current climate, the business faces public and political pressure: “[Such] largesse is unlikely to silence those who fear the online gambling giant is growing rich from punters who may be vulnerable or poor.”
The only other figures from the gambling industry to be ranked on the list were Fred and Peter Done, founders of Betfred. The brothers were ranked 22nd on the list, paying an estimated £44.5m in taxes from wealth of £1.25bn.
This tax liability was divided between the Betfred business, run by Fred Done, and the legal and insurance operation Peninsula Business Services, for which Peter is responsible. Their combined tax liability was estimated at £23m, with a further £21.5m paid on £56.6m of dividends.