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Ladbrokes tops the list of donations to British MPs

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Ladbrokes
maker Ladbrokes Coral Group was the lead provider of free gifts, benefits and hospitality to the British Members of Parliament between the start of 2016 and July this year, making more individual donations than any company in any sector.

According to the list released last Friday by the Government, Ladbrokes appears 15 times in the most recent list of gifts given to MPs by private businesses and individuals, significantly ahead of UK commercial broadcaster ITV.

Overall, out of the 187 donations from British sources, 58 came from sports and betting companies.

MPs are required to declare any gifts or hospitality with a value of over £300 in Parliament’s register of members’ interests, however any donations under this are not recorded.

Benefits handed out by Ladbrokes included trips to major UK horse racing events at Ascot, Cheltenham and Doncaster, the FA Community Shield football match at Wembley as well as dinner at the Conservative Party conference.

Following this disclosure, which comes as the government finalises the results of its review of the gambling sector, Ladbrokes said to the BBC it wanted MPs to make decisions “from a position of knowledge”.

“We employ over 25,000 people, we have a high street presence in nearly every constituency in the land and pay UK taxes of circa £55m per annum.

“Of course we engage with politicians, we want to make sure that when decisions are taken that affect our 25,000 people, they are done from a position of knowledge,” said a Ladbrokes Coral spokesperson.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley and one of the recipients of Ladbrokes’ hospitality, told the BBC: “I am the elected chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Betting and Gaming – and a former bookmaker – so of course I meet with bookmakers.

“It would be rather extraordinary if I didn’t,” he concluded.

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