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Paddy Power Sponsors English Church's "Sin Bin"

Paddy Power

Is gambling a sin?

Parishioners in Our Lady with St. Etheldreda Church can ponder that and many other questions of morality in the newly unveiled Paddy Power "Sin Bin."

The Irish bookmaker sponsored the Roman Catholic church's new confessional, after being approached by the parish's fundraising committee, according to a report in the Mail Online.

The 10,000-pound donation got the confession box built, along with Paddy Power's logo and the words "Sin Bin" on the green curtain covering the structure.

The church's location in Newmarket, Suffolk offers a certain symmetry for the deal, as Newmarket is considered the home of British horse-racing.

Paddy Power spokesman Ken Robertson described the genesis of the "Sin Bin" to the Mail Online:

"It was just before Christmas when we got an unsolicited call from a man on the fundraising committee at the church. He said Newmarket was the home of flat-racing in Britain and he asked would we sponsor an event to help pay for a new confession box. I half-jokingly floated the idea that if we paid for the confession box could we put our name to it - and he spoke to the priest, who was well up for it.'

According to Robertson, there's no conflict in having a betting firm sponsor a confessional in a house of God.

'The church approached us - and at the end of the day, Newmarket church now has a confession box, which they wouldn't have had.'

Fr. Michael Griffin, a priest at the parish, told The Daily Telegraph: 'It was suggested by a parishoner that we should ask Paddy Power for help because of its horse-racing connections. We were very pleased when they generously agreed. We were happy to put a plaque up on the side of the box, which we refer to as a reconciliation room, and I have mentioned Paddy Power in a sermon.'

The first person to seek absolution in the "Sin Bin" - Italian jockey Frankie Dettori.