As Profits Quadruple, Right Said Betfred

With a joint fortune of £1.87 billion (US$2.39bn), the brothers Fred and Peter Dones are among the 100 wealthiest people in the UK, according to the definitive Sunday Times Rich List, so not paying themselves a dividend–despite quadrupling profits for their Betfred omni-outfit in the financial year ending 25 September 2022–won’t be much of a miss.

Turnover of the North of England-based gambling powerhouse–built on a punt of England winning the 1966 World Cup–reached £723 million (US$925.91m), up by almost £200 million (US$256.13m), year-on-year, in their latest FY, surging post-Covid lockdown, post-tax profits from £5 million (US$6,4m) to £20 million (US$25.61m).

Hardly the stuff of pre-pandemic dreams, when the customer handle at their 1,400 High Street shops and online operations exceeded £10 billion (US$12.80bn), and the Betfred boys were able to pay themselves a £51 million (US$65.31m) dividend, but a move, nonetheless, firmly in the right said Betfred direction.

Fred and Peter have continued to cut the fat from their betting empire, closing 50 underperforming bookies since the end of lockdown, and looking for more of the same in the push back to significant profit.

Indicative of the bounce-back is the level of machine-gaming duty paid over FY2022 — £54 million (US$69.15m), compared to £31 million (US$39.7m) the previous year.

With most of the UK’s betting firms now more cognisant of compliance and responsible gambling legislation than ever before, there’s also been no repeat of the massive £2.9 million (US$3.71) fine levied by the UK’s regulatory Gambling Commission for anti-money laundering breaches last September.

It’s not right, agreed Betfred, to allow a customer to lose £70,000 (US$89,645) on the day they’ve just opened their account.

A very expensive slide from bet to slip.

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