The Guardian: Two MPs Reviewing Gambling Act Have Industry Ties

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According to the Guardian, Tory MPs Philip Davies and Laurence Robertson have been subject to criticism for their involvement with both gambling firms and the upcoming review of the Gambling Act 2005.

Two MPs Come under Fire for Gambling Ties

The Guardian has published an article discussing two Tory MPs recent involvement with gambling companies ahead of a pending review of the Gambling Act 2005.

According to the Guardian, Philip Davies held a position at GVC’s Ladbrokes worth £49,980. The newspaper, citing parliamentary disclosures, said that has accepted his position for “providing advice on responsible gambling and customer service.”

Davies has already been paid once on August 27 while he remains part of the select committee that will review gambling regulation. According to the Guardian, Davies has worked for GVC at a rate of £403 per hour, clocking in a total of 124 hours.

Another MP the Guardian looked into is Laurence Robertson who accepted a similar position with the Betting and Gaming Council (BCG) and is about to receive payment to the tune of £2,000 for 10 hours for his October stint, the media outlet reports.

Robertson’s position, if extended to a year-round position, would generate £24,000 a year and he fills a role as a sports and safer gambling parliamentary advisor for the industry group which has been calling for a fair rebalancing of gambling at home.

The BGC has been a vociferous proponent of the gambling industry, arguing against an outright ban on gambling operations and shutdowns that could prove devastating to the industry, and put thousands of jobs at risk. Another important matter is the proposed suspension of gambling sponsorships between soccer clubs and gambling firms.

No Conflict of Interests and Fair Game

Both Robertson and Davies have maintained a position of neutrality despite their ties to the gambling industry. The MPs have defended the legal gambling and horse racing industry, citing the necessary economic windfall to the state’s coffers.

Yet, the Guardian has argued that their decision to accept high-paid positions within the gambling sector while participating in the upcoming gambling review was subject to criticism. The newspaper cited Labor MP Carolyn Harris who had this to say:

“Laurence and Philip Davies are the two people who’ve spoken out most in support of the industry. There’s a conflict of interest here, isn’t there?”

-Labor MP Carolyn Harris

Based on the Guardian report, however, Davies is no longer working for GVC after he finished his short stint as an advisor on the aforementioned issues. The company argued that owing to recent changes, GVC had found it appropriate to cut ties with Davies.

The Guardian cited the name of Tracey Crouch, a former sports minister, who stepped down due to delays in the introduction of fixed-odds betting terminals restrictions, and who was “furious” that Davies reportedly met with gambling heads to delay the measure back in 2019.

On another occasion, the Guardian explained that Davies was cleared of previous allegations that he had failed to disclose £10,000 in hospitality money received by gambling firms.

Meanwhile, Robertson has been happy to answer questions for the newspaper, arguing that he had been frank about his interest in supporting the gambling and horse racing industries. However, he remained adamant on fulfilling his duties and observing strict parliamentary rules.

A BGC spokesperson said for the Guardian that Robertson made a good fit as he had years of experience and knowledge in those sensitive matters of safer gambling and sport.

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