MPs were invited to visit either a Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred or local independent betting shop in their constituency to place a charity bet, organized by the Betting and Gaming Council, the standards body for the regulated industry.
More than 40 MPs from both sides of the House are visiting local betting shops to place the Charity Bet on the Grand National. Each MP was handed GBP 50 to back a horse in the world’s most famous steeplechase, with all the winnings going to a charity of their choice.
And even if their horse does not come in, BGC members will be making a GBP 250 donation to the MP’s nominated charity, ensuring no one misses out. Last year’s Grand National charity bet drive raised just under GBP 11,000 for a huge range of charities.
During visits, MPs heard from staff about the range of safer gambling measures available to customers in bookmakers. A number of parliamentarians including Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison MP, Shadow DCMS Minister Alex Davies-Jones MP, Minister for Enterprise Kevin Hollinrake and COP26 President Alok Sharma MP are all placing bets.
They will be joined by Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey, former Labour Cabinet Minister John Spellar, former DCMS Minister Caroline Dinenage MP and Shadow Apprenticeships Minister Toby Perkins, among others.
The annual race at Aintree, Liverpool, is the most popular horse race in the world, and this year takes place on April 15. It is watched by around 600 million people across 140 countries, with an estimated 13 million adults in the UK placing a bet on it.
According to industry research conducted by the Betting and Gaming Council, approximately GBP 250 million will be staked on the main event. The Grand National is expected to generate GBP 3 million in tax revenues for the Treasury and GBP 2 million in horse racing levy to support the sport.
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “Millions of people, from all different backgrounds, will be coming together to watch the Grand National and place a bet on the world’s most famous horse race.”
“Betting shops support tens of thousands of jobs, bring vital revenue to the UK’s hard-pressed high streets and support the national and local economies through tax and business rates. They also provide community to millions of betting and gaming fans.”
Dugher also thanked the MPs who have made the time and effort to meet with their local constituents working in high street shops, for backing good causes and local charities, and for promoting the Grand National “which remains one of Britain’s biggest and best cultural and sporting events seen around the world.”
Independent analysis carried out by Serve Legal found UK betting shops have better age verification checks than convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol forecourts.
Betting shops support 42,000 jobs on the UK’s hard-pressed high streets, contribute GBP 800 million a year in tax to the Treasury and another GBP 60 million in business rates to local councils. A study by ESA Retail found that 89% of betting shop customers combine their trip to the bookies with visits to other local businesses.
According to the Gambling Commission, 22.5 million adults in the UK enjoy a bet every month, whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, having a game of bingo, visiting a casino, playing online or having a wager on football, horse racing and other sports.
“We are encouraged by the latest figures from the independent regulator, the Gambling Commission, which show the rates of problem gambling among UK adults is 0.2 per cent – down from 0.3 per cent the year previous,” BGC wrote.