UK MP Successfully Lobbies for Gambling Reform on Casino’s Behalf

It has been revealed that Conservative MP Philip Davies has successfully lobbied a government minister on behalf of a casino, resulting in a measure being included in last week’s gambling white paper.  UK MP Philip Davies Advocates for Credit Lines in Casinos After Mayfair Casino Visit MP Philip Davies wrote to culture secretary Lucy Frazer

It has been revealed that Conservative MP Philip Davies has successfully lobbied a government minister on behalf of a casino, resulting in a measure being included in last week’s gambling white paper. 

UK MP Philip Davies Advocates for Credit Lines in Casinos After Mayfair Casino Visit

MP Philip Davies wrote to culture secretary Lucy Frazer in February, after being entertained at Mayfair casino Les Ambassadeurs, The Guardian revealed. He asked for changes to allow casinos to offer credit lines to gamblers, including ultra-high-net-worth foreign visitors playing the tables at the casino. 

The measure was later included in the government’s white paper on gambling reform. Les Ambassadeurs confirmed that they had briefed Davies on the credit issue and had offered information to assist in shaping his letter. Davies declined to provide an on-the-record statement but said that he had written to Frazer because he agreed that Les Ambassadeurs should be allowed to provide credit.

The casino also said that Davies had not received any remuneration from them and his entry on the register of interests does not include any such payments. Davies, a longtime gambling advocate who previously received £50,000 ($62,918) working for Ladbrokes owner Entain, has also received up to £14,713.60 ($18,515) in hospitality from betting and horse-racing firms over the past two years, including days out at Ascot and cricket Test matches.

MP Philip Davies Criticized for Prioritizing Gambling Industry Interests

Davies’ letter to Frazer was revealed in response to a freedom of information request by the Good Law Project. Jolyon Maugham, the founder of the project, criticized the government for seemingly prioritizing the interests of the gambling industry over proper safeguards for the public. The government’s white paper on gambling reform drew criticism for failing to limit advertising and for farming out many of its key proposals to a year-long consultation.

Davies has long been a vocal supporter of the gambling industry and has been one of the largest beneficiaries of money spent by the multibillion-a-year sector on politicians. He recently became co-chair of the cross-party parliamentary group on betting and gaming after his predecessor, Scott Benton, was suspended pending an investigation by the parliamentary commissioner for standards. Benton was filmed by undercover reporters for The Times offering to lobby ministers on behalf of the gambling industry for up to £4,000 ($5,034) a month.

Critics of the government’s approach to gambling reform have questioned why the industry seems to take priority over the public interest. While the reforms generally cracked down on online gambling, restrictions on land-based casinos were loosened. The government’s proposals have been criticized for not going far enough in protecting vulnerable gamblers and for failing to address the problem of gambling-related harm.

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