Bet365 owners named UK’s second-biggest taxpayers

28 January 2019

The founders of betting and gaming giant bet365 have been named the second largest taxpayers in the UK, after paying an estimated £156m in taxes for the 2017-18 financial year.

The Sunday Times 2019 tax list ranked the Coates family as having paid the second largest sum after Stephen Rubin, majority owner of sportswear chain JD Sports, who paid tax of £181.6m for the 12 months to April 2018.

The annual tax list ranks the largest contributions paid to the UK exchequer in the most recent tax year, and estimated the Coates family’s wealth to be around £5.8bn. During the 2017-18 financial year, the business, 93% owned by CEO Denise Coates (pictured), her co-CEO and brother John, and chairman and father Peter, paid corporation tax of £26.8m, with an £84m dividend paid out.

Denise Coates was paid a salary of £220m - believed to be the largest pay packet for a UK executive for the year - for which The Times estimates she paid income tax of around £99m.

For bet365 Group’s financial year ending March 25, 2018, the business saw turnover grow 25% year-on-year to £2.86bn, with sports and gaming turnover contributing the vast majority (£2.71bn) of the total.

The rankings are compiled by looking at the 19% corporation tax paid on all company profits; the 38.1% tax on dividends; the 10% capital gains tax paid on sales of businesses or business units, and the 45% income tax rate for earnings above £150,000.

The tax list does not take taxes paid overseas into consideration, though the newspaper noted that this would have increased the Coates’ contributions further, with bet365 estimated to have paid a further £51.4m in other countries.

While the majority of igaming businesses have moved their headquarters overseas, bet365 has never moved its headquarters to a jurisdiction with a lower tax rate, meaning it pays the full UK tax on its operations.

The Coates family has also supported good causes through the establishment of the Denise Coates Foundation, which was established in 2012 and has since donated more than £100m to a range of charitable projects.

In the operator’s financial year ending March 25, 2018, the company made a £75m donation to the charity.

The family was by far the highest-ranked gambling-related contributor on the Sunday Times Tax List, with Peter Cruddas and family, who founded spread betting giant CMC Markets, ranked 48th. CMC paid tax of £10.4m in the 2017-18 financial year, paid out dividends of £25.7m, with Cruddas estimated to have paid £364,000 in income tax on his £845,800 salary.