February 21, 2022 3 min read


UK MPs Are Flooded with Freebies Ahead of the Gambling Act Review

Betting operators in the UK have flooded MPs with around £100,000 ($136,000) in freebies as the review of the Gambling Act of 2005 is about to begin. As the Daily Mail reports, rumors are now circulating that the operators are basically trying to buy some friends in the Parliament to rule in favor of the gambling industry rather than protecting players.

VIP Experiences Were Provided to 32 Labor and Tory MPs

Even though the review of the Gambling Act is being pushed to May, that seems to be beneficial to MPs as they are being flooded with gifts. Thirty-two Labor and Conservative members have been provided with exclusive experiences in the second half of 2021, with Laurence Robertson (Conservative MP) being the biggest beneficiary.

He’s been given an advising role in the Betting and Gaming Council, where he earns around £24,000 ($32,000) per year, which translates to around $272 per hour. Additionally, Robertson accepted around £10,000 ($13,000) in freebies from June to December 2021.

The public has been criticizing authorities because of the delay, but as it stands now, no extra effort is being made to make the reviewing process faster.

Robertson and David Warburton accepted tickets to the Brit Awards, which were given by the BGC and their combined worth was £3,492 ($4,761). Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes, also provided Robertson with tickets to the Euro semi-final between England and Denmark.

Clean Up Gambling’s director, Matt Zarb-Cousin, stated that this is how operators are buying new friends in the Parliament and are alienating everyone else. He also advised MPs that they should think twice before accepting money from an industry that makes a profit “from people experiencing harm.”

Labor MP John Stellar, stated that gambling reforms must preserve Britain’s attractiveness as a gambling destination. Spellar has been provided with tickets by Power Leisure Bookmakers to the England-Germany Euro match. In August 2021, he was given £874 ($1,200) worth of tickets from BGC to the cricket Test match between England and India.

An APPG report from January even criticized the UK Gambling Commission for being too harsh on the industry. MP Phillip Davies, a member of the APPG was provided with tickets worth upwards of £8,500 ($11,500) during the summer of 2021 and was given £50,000 ($68,000) by Entain advise on safer gambling in 2019.

MPs Received over $300,000 between 2020 and 2021

Flooding MPs with various gifts is not something new to the gambling industry in the UK. An audit conducted by the Guardian found out that MPs received more than £250,000 ($300,000) in wages and freebies between 2020 and 2021.

This audit, which was published in November 2021, concluded that the wages and freebies were taken by 9 Labor and 19 Conservative MPs since August 2020. Apart from spending money on Davies, Entain flushed around £41,000 ($56,000) on hospitality services for 13 MPs.

Back then, Zarb-Cousin stated that the government needed to demonstrate that UK’s democracy is not for sale. In response, a spokesperson for Entain stated that all political engagement is transparent and “in line with the registers of members’ interest.”

Filip Mishevski has been covering online gambling and cryptocurrencies for the past few years. He has written countless articles, how-to-guides, insights and news, and is keen on sharing his extensive knowledge in the aforementioned fields. He’s very passionate about soccer and MMA and is interested in how the online gambling industry will shape our future and thus, influence our lives.

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