Generic racing

Dozens of MPs back the Betting and Gaming Council’s Grand National Charity Bet campaign

More than 40 MPs from both sides of the House have visited local betting shops to place a BGC Charity Bet on the Grand National this Saturday.

Each MP was handed £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 doesn’t come in, BGC members will be making a £100 donation to the MP’s nominated charity, ensuring no one misses out.

MPs have backed a wide range of good causes including local community outreach programmes to the DEC - Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

MPs were invited to visit either a Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred or local independent betting shop in their constituency to place the charity bet, organised by the Betting and Gaming Council, the standards body for the regulated industry.

Cross party parliamentarians taking part included a number of 2019 Conservative MPs plus members of the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet.

Shadow Minister for Technology, Gambling and Digital Economy Alex Davies-Jones MP, Cabinet Minister and COP26 President Alok Sharma MP and shadow DWP Minister and former jockey Guy Opperman, are all placing bets.

They were joined by Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey, Caroline Dinenage MP and Toby Perkins MP, among many others.

Tomorrow’s race at Aintree, Liverpool, is the most popular horserace in the world, watched by around 600 million people across 140 countries, with an estimated 13 million adults in the UK placing a bet on it.

Due to the Covid pandemic betting shops on hard-pressed high streets across the nation were closed during the Grand National in 2021 while in 2020, the Grand National took the form of a virtual race.

It was hugely successful in its own right, with betting companies raising £2.9 million for NHS Charities Together.

Betting shops support 46,000 jobs on the UK’s hard-pressed high streets, contribute £1bn a year in tax to the Treasury and another £60m in business rates to local councils.

Meanwhile, a study by ESA Retail found that 89 per cent of betting shop customers combine their trip to the bookies with visits to other local businesses.

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “Millions of people, from all different backgrounds, will be coming together this Saturday to watch the Grand National and place a bet on the world’s most famous horserace.

“It’s fantastic that for the first time in three years, customers can place those bets in their local bookies.

“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.

“Too often, anything to do with gambling gets dominated by a tiny minority of parliamentarians who represent a minority view - a handful of obsessed anti gambling prohibitionist MPs who just like to ban stuff. I hope that the Government will reflect on the fact that so many MPs engage with the BGC, support the industry, recognise the economic contribution it makes, and frankly the perfectly safe enjoyment it brings to millions of people.

“I also want to say a huge thanks to the MPs who have supported this campaign and to our members who are backing so many local and national charities – best of luck to all this Saturday.”

The visits came as the latest figures from the Gambling Commission show the rate of problem gambling in the UK has fallen from 0.6 per cent to 0.3 per cent, that’s equivalent to a drop from 340,000 problem gamblers down to 170,000.

According to industry research conducted by the Betting and Gaming Council, approximately £250m will be staked on the main event. The Grand National is expected to generate £3m in tax revenues for the Treasury and £2m in horse racing levy to support the sport.

Betting & Gaming Council logo

Hello, sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest betting and gaming news.

We will protect your personal information.
Read our privacy policy