The lobbying organisation invited 40 MPs to place a charity bet on the horse race, with operators agreeing to hand over all winnings to the bettor’s charity of choice.
Politicians who attended the event came from all sides of the political spectrum and included Labour shadow DCMS minister Alex Davies-Jones MP, levelling up minister Dehenna Davison MP, minister for enterprise Kevin Hollinrake MP, former education secretary Sir Gavin Williamson MP and COP26 president Alok Sharma MP.
“I want to pay tribute to all the thousands of people who work in betting shops to help support hard-pressed high streets and local economies; it was great to see MPs from across the political divide – more MPs than ever before – visiting bookies across the country supporting more good causes than ever before,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher.
Every nominated charity will receive at least £250 after BGC members Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred all pledged to support charities even if the horse was not successful. Money went to Guide Dogs for the Blind, Age UK and a variety of regional food banks.
“The regulated betting and gaming industry already makes a huge economic contribution throughout the UK, with a recent report by EY revealing BGC members support 110,000 jobs, generate £4.2bn in tax and contribute £7.1bn to the economy in gross value added,” said Dugher.
The BGC’s latest lobbying campaign comes in the wake of a high-profile scandal involving a MP known for his close ties to the gambling industry, Scott Benton.
The MP for Blackpool South said to undercover reporters that he would be able to lobby ministers, table parliamentary questions and leak a copy of the upcoming Gambling Act review white paper up to 48 hours before it was made public, in violation of parliamentary rules.
Prior to becoming aware that the individuals he was speaking to were journalists, Benton contacted the parliamentary standards commissioner to clarify the rules in this regard and has had no further contact with the persons involved.