UK

Bet 365 boss Denise Coates tops list of biggest taxpayers by handing over £480m

The UK’s top 10 biggest tax payers 

1. Denise John and Peter Coates £481.7m

2. Chris Rokos £300m

3. Stephen Rubin and family £256.1m

4. The Weston family £175.4m

5. Fred and Peter Done £169.8m

6. Lord Sugar £163.4m

7. Peter Harris and family £141.4m

8. Sir Chris Hohn £126.1m

9. Leonie Schroder and family £121.2m

10. Alex Gerko £117.4m

Bet365 boss Denise Coates has topped the list of Britain’s biggest taxpayers for the third year in a row after handing over £480m last year, the Sunday Times Tax List has revealed. 

Coates, who paid herself £469million -the biggest salary in UK history – in April 2021, paid £481.7m in tax last year, almost £200m more than second place hedge fund manager Chris Rokos. 

Lord Sugar was among the 10 new entires in the top 50 this year, ranking sixth after paying £163.4m in tax.

The total tax paid by the top 50 rose by £510m last year, from £3.2 billion to an eye-watering £3.7 billion. 

It total, 11 individuals or families paid more than £100 million to HM Revenue & Customs in a year – a record number and four more than last year.

Ed Sheeran topped the celebrity tax list which included Queen and the Beckhams. 

Ranked second after the Coates family was Chris Rokos, who runs $13bn hedge fund Rokos Capital Management.

He paid £300m in tax after he collected £509m in pay from the hedge fund, which made almost £1bn in profit from bets placed during the pandemic.

In third was Stephen Rubin, 84, who paid £256m. His family own the JD Sports high street chain and sportswear brands Speedo, Berghaus and Kickers.

The Weston family, which owns Fortnum & Masons and recently sold Selfridges, came fourth, paying £175.4m. In fifth were  Fred and Peter Done, who paid £170m from their gambling business Betfred.  

Chris Rokos - Hedge Fund Manager

Denise Coates (pictured left with John and Peter Coates) paid the most tax in the UK last year. Chris Rokos (right) was second

Stephen Rubin (Chairman of the Pentland Group) with his wife Angela

Galen Weston and Hilary Frayne Weston

Stephen Rubin (with his wife Angela left) paid the third most while the Weston family (pictured right are Galen Weston and Hilary Frayne Weston) came fourth 

Fred Done

Lord Sugar

Fred and Peter Done of Betfred came fifth (Fred pictured left) while Lord Sugar, a new entry in the top 50, paid the sixth most tax (pictured right) 

Coates, 54, has an estimated £8.4bn fortune from Bet365, which makes her the 17th richest person in the country. Her pay since 2016 totals nearly £1.3bn.

Celebrity top 10 taxpayers in the UK 

1. Ed Sheeran — £12.5m

2. Queen — £9.1m

3. David and Victoria Beckham — £7.2m

4. The Beatles — £4.5m 

5. Anthony Joshua — £3.8m

6. Pewdiepie — £2.3m

7. Little Mix — £2.1m

8. Cara Delevingne — £1.7m

9. Harry Styles — £1.3m

10. Stormzy — £1.1m 

She first bought the domain name bet365 on eBay in 2001 for £20,000 and began operating a dot.com betting business from a portable cabin in Stoke. 

Her lightbulb moment in 2001 – that the future of gambling was online – took her from a Portakabin to almost unimaginable wealth and the brink of completing a futuristic fortress home in Cheshire.

It is in keeping with the private company head, who rarely gives interviews on account of her ‘not enjoying the attention’.

Her extraordinary success is a far cry from her years as a teenager where she learned the trade working in her father’s Stoke based Provincial Racing outlets.

Ms Coates and her husband remain fiercely private and refuse to discuss their private lives, or backgrounds.

The pair set up a £185million charitable foundation funding a variety of worthy causes at home and overseas. It provides bursaries for less well-off students, supports a hospice for cancer sufferers and has helped victims of natural disasters. 

They have one child of their own and adopted four girls from the same family. 

As well as the Coates and Done families, Simon and Yu-Lin Wilson, who own the Midlands gaming operation Intouch Games, also appear on the list. 

Researchers found that around £1 in ever £5 in tax paid in the UK last year comes from people in the gambling industry.   

Robert Watts, compiler of the list, said: ‘This is a stronger Tax List than last year’s – which will be good news for the chancellor. The total take is up by more than £500m.’

However, campaigners shared their concern that just two of the top ten of The Sunday Times Rich List last year appear in the latest Tax List.

Ed Sheeran topped the celebrity tax list which included Queen in second place

Ed Sheeran topped the celebrity tax list which included Queen in second place

David and Victoria Beckham

Stormzy

David and Victoria Beckham (left) and Stormy (right) also made the list for celebs who paid the most tax

The Sunday Times Tax list showed that the Beatles were ranked fourth among celebrities who paid the most tax in 2021

The Sunday Times Tax list showed that the Beatles were ranked fourth among celebrities who paid the most tax in 2021 

Anthony Joshua

Harry Styles

Anthony Joshua (left) and Harry Styles (right) also made the top 10 of celebrity tax payers

George Dibb, head of the IPPR think tank’s Centre for Economic Justice, said: ‘The uncomfortable fact is that as ordinary families face soaring bills in the aftermath of the pandemic, combined with tax rises and benefit cuts, many of the richest are being allowed to continue paying less than their fair share of tax.  

‘It’s time to tax income from wealth the same as income from work, and to introduce a proportional property tax so that those with multiple luxurious homes contribute far more than they do at present under the out-dated council tax system.’

The new list also revealed that JK Rowling paid £36m in tax, bringing the amount she has paid in the last three years to £119.4m. 

Rowling previously said she makes a conscious decision to pay full taxes in the UK, refusing to live in ‘the limbo of some tax haven’ and criticising ‘greedy tax exiles’.

Rowling, who received single mother benefits when she was writing the first Harry Potter book, has also spoken of the debt she felt she owed to the welfare state. 

How the ‘local girl done good’ went from a portable cabin office to become UK’s biggest taxpayer

Denise Coates spotted the potential of the internet to turn her family’s chain of betting shops into a global success 20 years ago

Denise Coates spotted the potential of the internet to turn her family’s chain of betting shops into a global success 20 years ago

Denise Coates bought the domain name bet365 on eBay in 2001 for £20,000 and began operating a dot.com betting business from a portable cabin in Stoke. 

Ms Coates completed the move from the portable cabin office, borrowing £15m from the Royal Bank of Scotland secured on her family’s estate of betting shops. And the move paid off.  

Ms Coates is now the majority shareholder in Bet365, a global company which has benefited from tighter regulations on the industry in other countries. 

In 2017, the former University of Sheffield student who graduated with a first class degree, was paid £265million. 

In 2019, that figure jumped to £323million.  

Last year, she paid herself £469million -the biggest salary in UK history.

Her lightbulb moment in 2001 – that the future of gambling was online – took her from a Portakabin to almost unimaginable wealth and the brink of completing a futuristic fortress home in Cheshire.

The space-age home has almost become a reality after she spent £5.5million buying up hundreds of acres of farmland.

It was dreamt up with the world-renowned architecture firm Foster and Partners, usually best-known for skyscrapers, airports and commercial buildings.

The sprawling home is set in 52 acres of Cheshire parkland and will include an artificial lake, sunken tennis courts, as well as stables, ornamental gardens, workers’ cottages and a boathouse.

It is in keeping with the private company head, who rarely gives interviews on account of her ‘not enjoying the attention’.

Her extraordinary success is a far cry from her years as a teenager she learned the trade working in her father’s Stoke based Provincial Racing outlets but could see where the industry was heading.

She convinced him to use them to secure a £15m loan from RBS, which she poured into developing Bet365.

By 2006 it had become so successful she sold those branches to rivals Coral for £40million. 

Her father’s faith in what was then a risky concept has never been forgotten by her.

In one interview she admitted: ‘I am hugely indebted to my father for always believing in me and to my brother John who runs the business alongside me.’

The success story nearly never happened after she first trained as an accountant, following study of econometrics at the University of Sheffield.

She hated it and was said to have ‘jumped’ at the chance to take over her father Peter’s shops Provincial Racing.

Ms Coates and her husband remain fiercely private and refuse to discuss their private lives, or backgrounds.

The pair set up a £185million charitable foundation funding a variety of worthy causes at home and overseas. It provides bursaries for less well-off students, supports a hospice for cancer sufferers and has helped victims of natural disasters. 

They have one child of their own and adopted four girls from the same family. 


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