Charities throughout the UK have benefited from large sums of money donated by bookmakers after MPs from around the country joined in on the Grand National action by placing charity bets.
The UK’s biggest betting operators had vowed to hand over any winnings on MP charity bets to their charity of choice.
The eventual winner was 50/1 shot Noble Yeats, ridden by amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen in his final race before retirement, but now every nominated charity will receive £250 after BGC members William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Paddy Power and Betfred increased the donations to these causes.
Michael Dugher, BGC’s Chief Executive, commented: “Yet again the Grand National delivered a brilliant race that was enjoyed by millions of punters across the UK.
“Betting shops are a huge employer and do so much to support hard-pressed high streets and local economies, it was great to see MPs from across the political divide visiting bookies across the country all in aid of good causes.
“This past weekend was a showcase for horse racing and betting. We want the Government to recognise the popularity of betting, its unique place in our national culture, and ensure they address punter’s concerns over extra checks and protect jobs in the upcoming White Paper.”
Those MPs who placed the bets included Shadow Minister for Technology, Gambling and Digital Economy Alex Davies-Jones MP, Cabinet Minister and COP26 President Alok Sharma MP and shadow DWP Minister and former jockey Guy Opperman MP.
MPs were invited to visit either a Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred or local independent betting shop in their constituency to place the charity bet, organised by the Betting and Gaming Council, the standards body for the regulated industry.
This year’s event was watched on TV by 7.5 million people in the UK, with 13 million people placing bets and an estimated 600 million more watching worldwide, and was the first time in three years that bookies had been open for the National due to the pandemic.
A study by ESA Retail stated that 89% of betting Shop customers combine their trip to the bookies with visits to other local businesses, and around 22.5m adults in the UK bet each month and we are encouraged by the latest figures from the Gambling Commission which show the rate of problem gambling is 0.3% – down from 0.6% 18 months ago, the equivalent to a drop of 340,000 problem gamblers down to 170,000.