MP Tristram Hunt in Gambling Payment Row

Tristram Hunt in gambling row.

Tristram Hunt in the political firing line over gambling issues, while Paddy Power reports a positive finances for 2015. (Image: examiner.co.uk)

Labour MP and public critic of British bookmakers Tristram Hunt was caught in the firing line recently after is emerged that he received a £40,000 payment from bet365.

As reported by the Daily Mail’s Andrew Price, Hunt’s register of interests (the document all MPs have to complete in order to disclose their financial interests) shows that he received a £40,000 payment from the CEO of bet365, Peter Coates.

Hunt’s Gambling Connections

The payment was made as a donation to Hunt and there is no suggestion it was for any direct services. In fact, Coates has long been a supporter of Hunt and even has a public endorsement listed on the MP’s website.

“Since he was elected in 2010, Tristram has supported businesses, schools and entrepreneurs across the city. He is a strong champion for Stoke-on-Trent on a national stage and is securing the investment, jobs and opportunities we need. I am supporting Tristram because I know he works hard and is committed to our city,” reads the message.

However, what seems the be the issue for Price and those concerned the Hunt might not be the best made for the job is that he’s previously condemned bookmakers such as William Hill for avoiding tax.

Although a noble crusade, Hunt appears to have neglected the fact that bet365 has also been accused of the same practice with records suggesting the company avoided paying a combined £13 million in corporation tax between 2010 and 2011.

For bet365 and Coates the news won’t raise much cause for concern; however, for Hunt it’s likely to be another knock on his already shaky reputation.

The Labour MP is reportedly one of the party members Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are thinking about deselecting and this news certainly won’t help his chances of keeping his position.

In Other UK Betting News…

Following another successful year of operation, Paddy Power has announced that it expects its full year profits for 2015 to be around €180 million/£137 million.

Although the statement is only an interim set of figures for the period between July 1 and November 15, 2015, the company has said its numbers are in line with its previous projections.

Despite a 3 percent drop in revenue for the company’s online operations (brought on by a lack of major sporting events in 2015), the group’s overall net revenue increased by 9 percent thanks, in part, to a 9 percent growth in UK retail sales.

Overall, 2015 was a tricky year for a number of bookmakers, so the news that certain aspects of its business have grown will certainly be positive news for Paddy Power’s executives; especially heading into a year when profits should increase again thanks to the Euro 2016 and the Olympics.

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