Bet365 Considers Move Out of UK

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By Roger Blitz

Financial Times UK

Bet365, one of the world's biggest online bookmakers, has warned there is no benefit to remaining in the UK and that it is losing out to competitors based offshore in lower tax regimes.

With ministers growing increasingly alarmed at the prospect of UK-based bookmakers fleeing these shores, Alan Coates, chief executive of the Stoke-based company which employs 900 people, said it had no current plans to relocate its sports betting business.

But he said it was "very aware" what it would take to move abroad. It already has its gaming business based in Gibraltar.

"Being based in the UK, from a tax perspective, is very expensive," said Mr Coates, pointing to the burden of having to pay gross profits tax of 15 per cent, the racing levy, non-recoverable valued added tax and corporation tax.

Asked whether there were benefits to being in the UK, Mr Coates said: "There isn't a great advantage, no. There are highly skilled workforces all over the world. But we are a Stoke firm and that's important to us."

William Hill last week upped the ante with the government when Ralph Topping, its chief executive, told the Financial Times that it did not have "the luxury of being parochial about our future".

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