Welsh MP accepted Wales v England hospitality from betting body despite speaking out about dangers of gambling
A Welsh MP accepted a free trip to Twickenham for Wales’ six nations clash with England from the industry body for bookmakers despite having spoken out about the dangers of gambling.
Kevin Brennan, the Labour MP for Cardiff West, received a ticket and hospitality worth £1,115 from the Betting and Gaming Council, the updated register of MPs’ interests reveals.
Wayne David, the Labour MP for Caerphilly, was also among four MPs who attended the nail-biting match at the expense of the body which represents bookmakers, casinos and online gaming companies.
But Brennan’s attendance, which comes amid a battle between the betting industry and campaigners over the need for new regulations, is more surprising given his previous comments on the issue.
He accused the UK Government of “a betrayal of his ministerial colleague and his two predecessors as Secretary of State, as well as the victims and their families, whose lives have been blighted by gambling addiction” over a 2018 decision to delay measures to reduce maximum stakes.
Calling for new legislation on gambling in 2020, the Cardiff West MP told the Commons: “My father used to enjoy a weekly 10 bob yankee down the bookies, but he would have been appalled at the sheer volume of advertising and the dodgy practices that are going on in picking on vulnerable people in relation to gambling.”
And in December 2020, he said “we all know that the gambling industry got it very wrong on the campaign on fixed-odds betting terminals” and called for the UK Government’s forthcoming review to “produce an outcome that maximises the fun for people who want to gamble, but minimises the harm.”
Nation.Cymru asked Kevin Brennan for a response but have not yet received a reply.
The all-party group on Gambling Related Harm, led by Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris, has called on the UK Government to introduce a maximum stake of £2 on slot machines, end harmful incentives like “VIP schemes”, and ban all betting advertising in sport.
The Betting and Gaming Council is the principle opponent of such measures. Its chair, former Labour MP Michael Duggar, wrote this week that they are “draconian, arbitrary measures”.
“If you treat betting like tobacco, that leads you to the wish list from the anti-betting lobby who want to tell people what they should be allowed to spend, as well as banning everything from advertising, sports sponsorship and even offers to consumers,” he added.
“Can you imagine the middle class outcry if supermarkets couldn’t do special offers on a bottle of wine?”
Nigel Evans, the Welsh-born Conservative MP Ribble Valley, and Caroline Dineage, the Conservative MP for Gosport, were also part of the group of MPs which received free tickets and hospitality at the match.
It’s not the first time Welsh MPs have courted controversy by accepting free Six Nations tickets.
Nation.Cymru revealed last year that Stephen Doughty, the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, accepted rugby tickets from a company he thanked in the Commons.
Our research has previously found that Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies had accepted twice as many free international rugby tickets than any other UK parliamentarian.
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