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MPs accept £225k in wages and gifts from gambling industry

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Concern rises regarding £225,000 in wages and gifts awarded to Members of Parliament by the gambling industry.

Online casinos and the industry as a whole are growing and there is plenty taking place behind the scenes. In recent news, an audit has revealed that 28 MPs have taken wages and freebies from the gambling industry since August 2020.

As the information has come to light, it is driving the question of the influence this may have on current decisions affecting the casino industry.

Wages and freebies for MPs

With a recent audit from The Guardian, it came to light that MPs have accepted nearly £225,000 in wages and freebies from the gambling industry. According to the audit, it shows 19 conservative MPs and 9 Labour beneficiaries.

On the 7th of July, the Conservative MP for Blackpool South, Scott Benton, spoke up in parliament warning that a review of betting laws leading to stricter legislation must not be solely based on anti-gambling ideology. On the same day, he was seen at Wembley watching England vs Denmark in the semi-final of the Euro 2020. He attended the match courtesy of the Ladbrokes Coral Owner, Entain, a freebie worth £3,457.

On another occasion, Benton called for casinos to have more slot machines stating that people will show concern about the plan by the UKGC for affordability checks on people betting both online and in person. Days before he was seen at Ascot enjoying a gambling funded day out worth £7,495 from the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) trade body.

Another MP, Labour's John Spellar, also spoke up about increasing the UK's appeal as a casino destination. Spellar recently attended the match of England vs Germany courtesy of Paddy Power owner, Flutter. He was also set to attend the cricket at Lord's the following month which cost £874.80 and features members from many major casinos.

MP Mark Jenkinson made effort to express concerns about the plan to impose betting limits for online casino games. Just days before he got to watch a match between Denmark vs England, a freebie from Entain. A couple of weeks later he took a trip to ascot. Another freebie gifted by the BGC. Jenkinson received freebies totalling £4,857.

Of all the MPs listed, Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, has been the biggest beneficiary of the online gambling industry's 'generosity' thus far. Davies received £50,000 as payment to advise the Ladbroke owner, Entain, on safer gambling and customer service protocols.

Entain has spent almost £41,000 on hospitality for 13 MPs over the summer and BGC spent £20,405 while accompanying MPs to big events.

Impact of industry MP hospitality

The online gambling industry is facing challenges to come head-on as parliament is working on gambling reform. While there has been no indication of proof of whether the MPs have broken any parliamentary rules, it is cause for concern.

It is creating a pattern and leading to many questioning the objectiveness towards online gambling and the new gambling reform.

It is also a problem as many MPs are showing contradictory behaviour with what goes for them, does not apply to constituents. Davies for example has made it clear that what he does outside of office hours is not of concern to anyone. This was not the case in 2010 when he was against firefighters who have second jobs.

It's a matter of the online casino industry having influence over the decisions being made regarding the gambling reform. The priority should be on player safety and implementing objective changes to the necessary reform - Not decisions possibly influenced by gifts and wages.

Published: December 17, 2021

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Article by Stelly

CasinoWow Contributor

Hey there! I am Stelly, and happily, I'm part of CasinoWow's content team. It excites me to be able to write and share with all gambling enthusiasts unbiased reviews and news that contribute to the gambling community and industry. Thankfully, I also have the chance to help you make an informed choice for casino brands and games, as well as provide interesting guides and news.

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