Blackpool South MP Scott Benton has accepted almost £ 8,000 in free tickets to Wimbledon, Royal Ascot and Euro 2020 from the gaming industry
It comes a week after Tory MP for Blackpool South asked Culture Secretary John Whittingdale to review a case for a super casino in Blackpool and urged the use of betting shops on main streets.
The MP’s register of interests showed Mr Benton had accepted £ 7,494.60 of hospitality and free tickets to major sporting events from gambling companies at home and abroad.
He received hospitality at Royal Ascot, worth £ 1,400 from the Betting and Gaming Council, and a ticket and hospitality to Wimbledon worth £ 1,100 from Gibraltar company Entain Operations.
Entain Operations has several gambling sites across the UK including bookies Ladbrokes and Coral.
Mr Benton also bought free tickets to Euro 2020 matches, including an England-Denmark semi-final ticket and hospitality worth £ 3,457 from Entain Operations, and the same for the England-Czech Republic game worth £ 1,537.60, online casino and bingo. Gamesys Group company.
The gifts were all accepted between June 17th and July 7th.
Six other Tory MPs and two Labor MPs also demanded free tickets to gaming industry sporting events, but none for the same amount as Mr Benton.
Gaming and betting companies greeted MPs as the government undertakes a review of the gambling law, to consider further restrictions on advertising.
But Mr Benton has been criticized this week by residents of the resort, another political party and a gambling addiction group over the promotion of his betting shop and his candidacy for a super casino.
He argued that a super casino would be a welcome regeneration project for Blackpool, boosting the city’s tourism and leisure industry and creating jobs.
But Blackpool and Fylde Green Party lambasted the proposal, saying Mr Benton was “out of touch” with the needs of his constituents.
The chairman of a gambling addiction support group also said the MP’s promotion of large-scale betting to hand over money to the treasury was “inappropriate.”
Gambling problems are on the rise in Blackpool, President Terry Kilgariff added, and “anyone who uses these stores regularly is more likely to have a problem with this”.
Meanwhile, Mr Benton’s push for a review of a super casino’s case in Westminster Hall came on July 7 – the same day he received a free ticket from Entain to the semi-final game of England against Denmark.
He asked: “Will the minister undertake to examine the file of a regional casino during the examination of games of chance and will he assess the significant positive economic impact that a regional casino could?” have over a city like Blackpool, which would be the obvious place to host such a casino?
Mr Whittingdale said that “the legislation is still in force and therefore could be used”, if support for the offer was well received by residents, if a suitable operator could be found and if it was supported by the council. from Blackpool.
But the Blackpool board said it was the first time they had heard of a great casino in “a number of years”, although the bosses are happy to start talks.
Mr Benton told The Gazette that while he has yet to book a site for the super casino, he will be hosting one in his constituency.
“My discussions at the moment are with the operators to see if they would be interested, and if so, I would present a strong case for Blackpool,” he said.
“I would like it to be in my constituency, there are a lot of abandoned sites and brownfields around.”
Mr. Benton has been contacted for comment.
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