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Jerome García April 25, 2023 3 min read
Probe Reveals Ex-SNP Website Turned into Gambling Affiliate
A website that used to collect funds for a second Scottish independence referendum reportedly turned into a gambling affiliate
In September 2014, a referendum resulted in “no” to independence for Scotland from the United Kingdom. Shortly after, a second referendum was proposed seeking to once again probe independence. Efforts led by the Scottish National Party (SNP), resulted in the creation of a website that sought to raise money for the second independence referendum. Known as ref.scot fundraiser, the website had a target of raising £1 million ($1.2 million).
Now, a new report by The Sun reveals that the same website is no longer featuring political content but instead appears as a gambling affiliate. Using the Wayback Machine, a website that enables users to see what content was featured in different online websites, the publication explained that ref.scot started accepting donations back in 2017 for the aforementioned second Scottish referendum.
The website offered videos of Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister at the time. Additionally, it featured advice for campaigners along with other information primarily related to politics. However, since last month, that has reportedly changed as now ref.scot appears as a gambling affiliate.
A Political Website Turns into a Gambling Affiliate
The website, which used to collect donations for the referendum for Scotland’s independence now offers facts about online gambling, poker, slots and other gambling games. Moreover, it reportedly features links to “top online gambling websites.”
Peter Murrell, the former chief executive of the SNP allegedly created the fundraiser website back in 2017. At the time, the party noted that the money raised would “only be used for the specific purpose of a referendum campaign.” Early in 2020, SNP’s treasurer, Colin Beattie, revealed that the website was able to raise nearly £600,000 ($748,000). While this sounds well, a tip to the police claiming that the money was spent resulted in the launch of an investigation.
Authorities sought to determine how and if the money raised for the second referendum was spent. This led to the arrest of Murrell and Sturgeon which made headlines earlier this month. The two were reportedly released without any charges. Beattie was also detained earlier this week, likely in relation to the ongoing investigation.
According to a spokesperson for SNP, the political group wasn’t related to the gambling website. The spokesperson said that the website was an old domain that was used for the fundraiser which was replaced by a new one back in 2019.
Political opponents of the SNP criticized the party in light of the investigation. A spokesman for the Labour Party said about the fundraiser: “This web page has always been a gamble. The only difference now is the new one has better odds.”