Ten MPs from the Conservative Party and Labour Party received tickets to the UEFA 2020 European Championships from betting companies, according to the BBC.
The broadcaster alleges that eight Conservative Party MPs and two from the Labour Party – both of whom were members of the Shadow Cabinet – were given tickets to the tournament, whilst four members of the former party also received Wimbledon tickets. The donated tickets were worth between £1,537.60 and £3,457.
Scott Benton MP, the Conservative representative for Blackpool South, was given a total of £7,500 in football, tennis and horse racing tickets from the betting and gaming industry.
The MP received a £1,537.60 ticket to the England versus 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.
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.
Entain also donated tickets to the England versus Denmark semi-final fixture to Philip Davies MP – a long-time supporter of the betting and gaming industry – Esther McVey MP and Laurence Robertson MP, worth £3,457.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party’s 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, a ticket £3,457 ticket to the England versus Denmark match.
“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.