Betting giant bet365 pays out £130m tax bill
ONLINE gambling giant bet365 paid out more than £20 million in corporation tax after a record year – while many of its rivals used offshore tax havens to cut costs.
The Festival Park group hired almost 500 extra staff as customers wagered more than £12 billion in bets – a 45 per cent rise on £8.54 billion a year earlier.
Newly-published accounts for the year to March 2012 show the firm paid £20.3 million in corporation tax, up from £18.5 million, while betting duty and VAT took the total tax bill to £130 million.
Rivals like Ladbrokes and Williams Hill operate their UK online divisions from offshore hubs like Malta and Gibralta to reduce the amount paid, while online competitors like Betfair also operate from tax havens.
Pre-tax profits at bet365 rose by 22 per cent to £116.5 million.
Turnover for the group, which includes a majority shareholding in Stoke City, was £721.8 million – up from £501.4 million last year and £419.8 million in 2010.
Founder Denise Coates paid herself a dividend of £20.1 million in the year to March 2012 as part of total dividends of £40 million. John Coates received £10 million.
Their father Peter Coates, pictured, a fellow director and chairman of Stoke City, received £3.1 million. The accounts also reveal:
Profits were reduced slightly by the company's share of Stoke City's losses which totalled £5.8 million – down from £7.2 million a year earlier.
Stoke City's wage bill swelled from £48.2 million to £51.19 million as part of 'continued investment in the quality and depth of its squad';
The total number of employees at the bet365 group rose to 2,151, up from 1,673 a year earlier and not including an average of 278 matchday staff at the Britannia Stadium
Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt said: "This is a great British business success story and we should be hugely proud to have it in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent. This is a company that provides high quality, well-paid jobs for the city, and unlike some other gambling businesses it pays its taxes in the UK."
Dan Macadam, of Gambling Compliance, said: "Online gambling firms like Betfair and Bwin have got used to setting themselves up in offshore hubs where they pay little or no tax. Countries are now wising up to that."
Denise Coates CBE, joint chief executive, said: "We have been pleased with the growth we achieved over the year both in the UK and Internationally."
Stoke City season ticket holder Josh James, aged 22, from Trentham, said: "The Coates family are well respected in Stoke-on-Trent especially due to their investment in Stoke City. So the fact their profits are increasing is great news for them and for the city as a whole."