Tory donors at the rear of Betfred pay out themselves and relatives £50m dividend

The billionaire Conservative party donors guiding the gambling firm Betfred paid out on their own and their family members a £50m dividend, as an maximize in on the internet gambling in the coronavirus pandemic offset the temporary closure of its 1,470 substantial avenue bookmakers.

Betfred’s customers wagered £6.9bn in the 12 months to the finish of September 2021, up from £6.4bn, offering winnings of £526m for the Manchester-based mostly corporation, a marginal maximize on the earlier 12 months.

The business paid a dividend of £50.7m in November 2021 to its shareholders, the Carried out family headed by the brothers Fred and Peter, who labored in their father’s bookmaking small business in advance of opening their 1st store in 1967.

The payout arrived on the back of a resilient pandemic overall performance, as the firm shrugged off the influence of Covid-19, which pressured the closure of its network of substantial avenue bookmakers for prolonged durations.

Though the guardian organization did not offer a breakdown of its revenue from on-line versus higher avenue sources, it said an enhance in stakes, revenues and income from its world wide web business had produced up for the affect of store closures.

Its on line procedure is based mostly in Gibraltar but Providers Household filings for the subsidiary that properties its on-line functions suggest the extent of the slack that its world-wide-web small business picked up.

Revenues in the high road business slumped from £301m to £244m, yet team turnover was flat on the year in advance of due to the fact of the improve in on-line participate in.

Over-all gain at team stage was distorted by just one-off aspects. Pre-tax gain was £6m for the yr to the conclude of September 2021, down from £205m the yr before.

However, the 2020 end result was boosted by a £98m rebate from HM Earnings and Customs – right after a court discovered that the tax authority had overcharged the corporation VAT amongst 2005 and 2013 on its fixed-odds betting terminals, the controversial digital roulette devices.

It also benefited from a £94m boost in the worth of investments that it held that 12 months, in contrast with a in the vicinity of £22m loss this yr.

The 2021 figures had been posted with the governing administration on the verge of publishing a white paper proposing a reform of gambling legal guidelines that could crimp on line gaming firms with steps such as stake limitations of among £2 and £5 on slot device online games.

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Betfred did not immediately refer to the white paper but warned that it could be adversely impacted by legislation.

Businesses Dwelling filings present that the enterprise created no political donations this calendar year.

On the other hand, the Performed brothers have donated £375,000 to the Tory celebration due to the fact 2017, by using their Rainy Town Investments vehicle.

The group created charitable donations of £157,000 during the calendar year, down from £289,000 in 2020, and its maximum-paid director attained £456,000.