The BBC has reported that ten MPs from the two largest political parties received tickets to UEFA Euro 2020 Championship, in addition to other prominent sporting tournaments.
Overall, eight Conservative Party MPs and two Labour Party MPs were gifted tickets worth between £1,537.60 and £3,457, with the two members of the latter party serving as members of the Shadow Cabinet.
Labour Party Shadow Whip Mark Tami MP received a £1,961 ticket to the England versus Germany game from Power Leisure Bookmakers, whilst Entain gave the party’s Shadow Education Minister, Toby Perkins MP, a ticket £3,457 ticket to the England versus Denmark fixture.
Meanwhile, Scott Benton MP, Philip Davies MP – a long-time supporter of the betting and gaming industry – Esther McVey MP and Laurence Robertson MP, were also given tickets to the England versus Denmark semi-final clash by Entain, valued at the same price as Perkins’ ticket.
Scott Benton in particular has received a considerable number of tickets, having been gifted a £1,537.60 ticket to the England v Czech Republic group round match by Gamesys Group, a hospitality package valued at £1,400 from the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) and a £1,100 ticket to Wimbledon from Entain.
The Blackpool South MP received a total of £7,500 in football, tennis and horse racing tickets from the betting and gaming industry.
Additionally, Shipley representative Davies and Tatton MP McVay also received £1,100 Wimbldeon tickets from the same company, the holding group behind Ladbrokes and Coral.
“While the government reviews our gambling laws, it’s no surprise to see the betting industry on a charm offensive,” said Matt Zarb-Cousin, Director of Clean Up Gambling.
“Thankfully the vast majority of MPs are in favour of gambling reform, but legislators should think twice about accepting hospitality from a sector that derives the majority of its profits from people experiencing harm.”
Furthermore, the BBC has also cited research conducted in 2017 which found that sports and betting companies topped the list of gifts and hospitality donors to British MPs.
Parliamentary rules state that all MPs must declare gifts or hospitality which could potentially influence their words, actions or decisions as a legislator.
The revelation comes as the UK government continues with its review of the 2005 Gambling Act, which has seen the relationship between sports and the betting industry come under increasing scrutiny, particularly football.
A prohibition of sponsorship arrangements between sports teams and gambling operators has been identified as a likely outcome of the report, and reportedly has the support of PM Boris Johnson and his cabinet, prompting Premier League clubs to discuss the future of their sponsorship agreements in March.