Gambling industry CEOs revealed as the biggest taxpayers in Britain

  • Updated
  • By Giorgia Rose
Casino CEOs largest taxpayers in Britain
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Two gambling industry CEOs were revealed by Gambling Insider to top the charts of the highest British taxpayers, taking two of the top three spots. 

Bet365 CEO Denise Coates and her family (for the second year in a row) paid the most tax in Great Britain, amounting to £573m in 2020.

Alcohol spirit industry leader Glenn Gordon took the second position, followed by BetFred brothers Fred and Peter Done who paid £191.3m in tax in the past year. 

These stats come from the Sunday Times Tax List 2021, which showed that, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, tax revenue from the vast majority of British business owners is significantly lower this year. However, Bet365's tax numbers have more than doubled. 

BetFred’s growth is also staggering. After not even cracking the top ten last year, placing in the top three is quite the rags-to-riches story for a pair that started in the trade as teenagers, working for their father’s illegal bookies in the slums of Salford. 

These numbers prove the worth of the British gambling industry for bringing in huge amounts of the nation’s tax revenue. These are some of the biggest businesses operating in the UK, and with continued lockdowns causing an added surge in popularity for online casinos, they have proven themselves to be reliably pandemic-proof.

So how could rumoured harsher regulations, such as stake limits, affect this revenue? 

Regulatory bodies have been considering implementing stake limits on players in this coming year, meaning players would be permitted to stake a maximum of £2 per bet. This idea was proposed in good faith to protect gamblers from forming dangerous habits and betting more than they can afford. One study found that

However, the government may be less keen to approve such a plan knowing it could cause its tax revenue from the industry to plummet. Gambling is a source of social harm, but it is lucrative for public finances.

A comparison we can take from history is in the tobacco industry. Despite British Tobacco companies contributing large amounts of tax in decades past, government interventions were needed due to the evidence linking tobacco use to various cancers. In this case, public health took precedent over public wealth.