The Tory MP leading the campaign against plans to crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) has received hospitality from bookies worth more than £14,000.
Philip Davies has been busily protesting after the Government announced this week that it is considering cutting the maximum stake on FOBTs from £100 to between £50 and £2.
Tory gambling minister Tracey Crouch said there was “strong evidence” about the risks of gaming machines which allow gamblers to stake up to £300 every minute.
But Davies accused his own party’s government of of “just playing to the gallery” in a debate about the move in the Commons on Tuesday.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he called the plans “childish” and said: “This is just people who don’t like bookmakers targeting betting shops.”
On neither occasion did Davies, whose parents owned a betting shop, point to his own interests in the issue. But we’re happy to do so:
Six years after being an elected an MP, Davies registered his first freebie from a bookmaker – hospitality from Ladbrokes at the Cheltenham Festival, a prestigious horse racing event, worth £870.
Between March 2013 and March 2014:
Two years later, Davies registered gifts from Ladbrokes and Coral worth £2,100. That included hospitality at Cheltenham, Doncaster and Sandown races, as well as at Royal Ascot.
Between March 2014 and July 2015:
Davies accepted three gifts from Coral bookmakers worth £1,050.
They were hospitality at Cheltenham races, Royal Ascot and the Coral-Eclipe race at Sandown park.
Between July 2015 and September 2016:
Davies’ freebies from bookies peaked as he accepted gifts from three bookmakers – Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfair – worth £5,321.
That included three tickets to Royal Ascot, tickets and hospitality at Sandown race course and tickets to the Community Shield football match at Wembley.
Between September 2016 and October 2017:
Davies accepted gifts from Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Skybet worth a £5,055.
That included tickets to the Conservative party conference dinner, as well as tickets and hospitality to prestigious horse racing events at Royal Ascot and Cheltenham and the League One play-off final at Wembley.
That takes Davies’ total winnings to a whopping £14,496.
Davies has not broken Parliamentary rules – MPs can accept freebies provided they declare them.
But his opposition to restrictions on bookmakers is the safest bet in town…