Labour accepts gambling firm donation

Gordon Brown left himself open to charges of hypocrisy after it emerged that Labour accepted a donation from an online gambling firm days before he killed off plans for a super casino.

Labour received a GBP 100,000 donation from Bet365 Ltd on June 28 – the day after Mr Brown became Prime Minister.

The company, founded by Labour donor Peter Coates, also gave a donation of GBP 50,000 in April when Tony Blair was still Prime Minister.

But less than two weeks later, Mr Brown – in one of his first big announcements as Prime Minister – ripped up a key part of Mr Blair’s policy programme by scrapping plans for a super casino.

The Las Vegas-style casino, boasting up to 1,250 unlimited-jackpot slot machines in a complex of at least 5,000 sq metres, had been earmarked for a run-down area of Manchester.

Mr Brown also delighted gambling opponents by using his last Budget as Chancellor in March to impose a GBP 100m hike in gaming duty and 15pc duty on betting websites.

The move sparked fury from the industry which claimed Mr Brown had wrecked Britain’s chances of becoming a serious player in the online gambling market.