Toby Perkins, Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, visited the William Hill shop in Staveley to place a £50 charity bet ahead of the 2022 Grand National.
The Betting and Gaming Council, the standards body for the regulated UK betting and gaming industry, has invited MPs across the country to visit a betting shop in their constituency to meet local staff and customers and place a charity bet ahead of the world’s greatest steeplechase.
The Grand National is the most popular horse race in the world and this year takes place on Saturday 9th April. It is watched by an estimated 600 million people across 140 countries, and it is estimated that around half the entire UK adult population place a bet on the race.
Toby Perkins said ” I was very pleased to take William Hill up on their generous offer of a charity bet and I have selected Ashgate Hospice as the recipient of any winnings. The Betting and Gaming Council have guaranteed that they will pay £50 to Ashgate even if my horse doesn’t win. Almost everyone in Chesterfield has had cause to be thankful to the Hospice for their care of a friend or family member and their ability to fundraise has been severely hampered by the pandemic so they would certainly welcome an unexpected windfall.
The other reason for my visit was to discuss what the company are doing to protect customers and promote safer gambling. I have a real interest in gambling policy. I have met constituents on whom gambling addiction has taken a terrible toll. I have also heard from social gamblers who are very worried that draconian limits would curtail their freedom to enjoy a bet. I also wanted to hear from those working on the shop floor about the steps they take to identify and support problem gamblers, whilst also hear from punters for whom their local shop is an important part of their social life.
I do think that the gambling industry needs to reform to protect people who engage in harmful gambling and we need strong regulation in place to ensure that companies are held to account.”
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, stated “I would like to thank Toby for taking the time to visit one of our members shops ahead of the Grand National. The Grand National is one of the busiest times of the year in betting shops across the country where lots of people go to have a flutter and enjoy the racing.
Betting shops are a key part of the high street economy, providing good quality jobs and paying tax and business rates to help fund local services
Our members are also determined to maintain the momentum when it comes to raising standards and promoting safer gambling. We welcome the Gambling Review as an important opportunity to drive up standards further in our sector.”
Toby added, “I’ve gone for Burrows Saint for my charity bet. On this occasion it was purely on the name. The previous council leader in Chesterfield and a great friend of mine was John Burrows. He and his brother Walter (who is no longer with us) have taught me so much, not just about the reality of politics in Chesterfield and Staveley but also about the impact it can make on people’s lives. I am not sure anyone has described either John or Walt as a saint, but they are damn fine men so I hope they can bring the Hospice a bit of luck.”