Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins responds to criticism after accepting Euro 2020 ticket from betting company

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has responded to criticism after it emerged he accepted a ticket to a Euro 2020 match from a betting company.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 8:39 pm

Mr Perkins along with four Conservative MPs – Scott Benton, Philip Davies, Esther McVey and Laurence Robertson – received tickets to the England v Denmark semi-final match from Entain Holdings at a value of £3,457 each.

The revelations – in the latest register of MPs’ financial interests – come as the Government is reviewing gambling laws including looking at introducing spend limits.

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Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

MPs are required to declare gifts or hospitality which could influence their words or actions as an MP.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of the Clean Up Gambling campaign, said: “While the Government reviews our gambling laws, it’s no surprise to see the betting industry on a charm offensive.

“Thankfully the vast majority of MPs are in favour of gambling reform, but legislators should think twice about accepting hospitality from a sector that derives the majority of its profits from people experiencing harm.”

In response to that criticism, Mr Perkins, who has served as Chesterfield’s Labour MP since 2010, said: “I agree with Clean Up Gambling’s view that further reform to protect people who engage in harmful gambling is needed.

“I support people’s right to have a bet, but just as I did when I supported the huge cut in fixed odds betting terminal stakes, I want gambling reform to focus on reducing gambling harm.

“I was happy to accept an invitation to the semi-final and reported it in line with the rules and I’m happy to answer questions about that.

“But it won’t remotely change my view that gambling companies have access to a lot of data on their customers and they must do more to use that data to identify problem gambling.

“The industry employs a lot of people and raises a lot of taxes which is a reason to engage with it, but that must never be a reason to turn a blind eye to gambling harm, and my constituents can be assured that reform that tackles gambling harm will remain my priority.”

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