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Deyan Dimitrov May 22, 2023 3 min read
Entain Caught Red-Handed Secretly Lobbying against UK’s White Paper
The global gambling company reportedly funded a player organization urging gamblers to protest against the country’s upcoming regulatory changes
Despite Entain’s public support for tightening regulations and improved player-protection measures, recent evidence suggests the company is covertly attempting to undermine the white paper’s much-needed reforms. While the operator denied responsibility, its ties to lobbying groups left many government officials questioning the sincerity of its statements.
The Operator Founded Its Own Advocacy Group
The Players’ Panel is an initiative created by Entain to allegedly allow responsible gamblers to make their voices heard. The organization’s website regularly shares pro-gambling articles, emphasizing the industry’s positive impact while glossing over any negatives. Lobbying firm CT Group, well-known for its astroturfing schemes, was also involved, shedding further doubt over the group’s self-proclaimed grassroots nature.
A recent report by The Guardian revealed the Players’ Panel had taken up a campaign against the upcoming UK white paper, painting the government’s updated safe gambling measures as an infringement on their freedoms. The organization’s website contains many blog posts complaining the reforms denied them basic human rights.
Why should the government get to decide how much is too much to bet on football? How does that justify them checking every penny I have on my account?Andy, Players’ Panel advocate
The Players’ Panel has taken things one step further, messaging its members with sample emails to send their MP. The ten templates again criticized the government for restricting gambler freedom, urging the MP to contact gambling minister Lucy Frazer. The text in these emails is strikingly similar to the Players’ Panel blog posts and conspicuously lacks any mention of Entain’s involvement.
UK Officials Were Less than Pleased
Officially, the Players’ Panel maintains its opinions are its own. Entain also avoided commenting on its direct involvement, instead lauding the platform for empowering responsible gamblers. The operator also refused to share how much funding it had provided and avoided commenting on the extent of its involvement with the lobbying emails.
Despite Entain’s claims, government officials quickly pointed out the disparity between the operator’s official pro-regulation stance and its underhanded actions. Former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, noted the emails deliberately omitted Entain’s involvement. Other UK politicians shared that sentiment, accusing Entain of hiding behind constituents.
For members of parliament – and members of the public – to be kept in the dark over which well-funded gambling firm is behind lobbying efforts… is pretty underhand.Ruth Davidson, Former Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party leader
The rising controversy surrounding Entain’s lobbying against gambling reforms highlights the need for transparency and ethical practices within the industry. Countries like Belgium and the Netherlands prove operators can remain profitable despite significantly stricter regulations. It is thus crucial for companies to prioritize the well-being of their customers over short-term financial gains.
Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.