November 29, 2023 3 min read

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UK MP Criticizes Gambling Commission, Receives Donations from Industry

A Tory MP who received donations from the Betting and Gaming Council earlier this year criticized the gambling regulator for proposed changes to the sector

Last week, Craig Whittaker, a Tory MP, criticized the gambling regulator in the UK, the Gambling Commission, in an op-ed piece for the Conservative Home. At the time, he touched upon the ongoing gambling reform in the country, criticizing the proposed affordability checks, deeming them “invasive for customers.”

Moreover, Whittaker warned that the intrusive changes may have a dire impact on the UK gambling sector. In the recent article, he questioned why the gambling regulator selected affordability checks that according to critics “would almost inevitably lead to customers being forced to submit their payslips to gambling operators.”

Despite Whittaker’s stance regarding the ongoing changes to the sector, data from the Parliamentary Register of Members’ Financial Interests as of November 13, 2023, reveals that Whittaker received more than £8,000 ($6,300) from the gambling sector this year.

The donations and earnings included £5,000 ($3,900) received by the Tory MP from the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) back in August this year. Whittaker collected the earnings for presenting two seminars, one in August and one in July. Separately, the MP also received a donation from the BGC that included tickets with hospitality for a Madonna concert with a value of £2,148 ($1,700). This donation was received on October 15, 2023, according to the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

Additionally, the data reveals that the Tory MP accepted a ticket with hospitality for the Cheltenham Festival. Similarly to the other contribution, this one was donated by the BGC as well.

The Donations Did Not Change the MP’s Views about Gambling

Commenting on the donations, Whittaker said that the accepted hospitality did not impact his stance on gambling, a report released by The Guardian suggests. He explained that he supports the gambling sector in the UK and predicted that the ongoing changes discussed by the Gambling Commission will “have the opposite intended consequence and drive more and more people to the black market.”

The Tory MP added: “I genuinely believe a well-regulated sector, by and in harmony with, the Gambling Commission will benefit everyone.” Whittaker said that a sector that is regulated well can be a safer environment for the customers and employees within the vertical. Last but not least, he warned that some of the current proposals may not achieve those goals.

Earlier this week, BGC’s chief executive, Michael Dugher, deemed a recent tax increase proposal “nothing more than a Trojan Horse.” He referred to a proposed tax simplification released within the government’s Autumn Statement. According to Dugher, that proposal may have a dire impact on horse racing, the second most popular sport in the country.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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