One of the leading members of the House of Commons committee, which last year issued recommendations concerning the changes in UK gambling laws, has been accused of “numerous breaches of the parliamentary code of conduct” by a campaign group.
According to Fairer Gambling, an organization which campaigns against exploitative betting, Conservative MP Philip Davies failed to declare benefits received from the gambling industry at the time of the committee hearings that led to the subsequent recommendations.
The recommendations made by the committee include favorable taxation changes for UK-licensed companies, mandatory UK licenses for operators providing online casinos in UK, as well as other proposals that would benefit domestically registered gambling operators.
The two companies implicated in the accusations are Ladbrokes, the major online sportsbook based in the UK, as well as provider of employment law, Peninsula Business Services.
The gifts received from these companies included a Ladbrokes-paid trip to the Cheltenham festival in 2011 (a GBP 870 value), as well as an annual “subscription” to Peninsula Business Services’
According to the MPs’ register, Davies has also been given an annual subscription worth GBP 4,680 from Peninsula Business Services.
Although Davies registered the gifts at the time of receipt, he was also supposed to declare them at the start of the committee hearings, in order to avoid conflicts of interests. This seemingly theoretical issue becomes very practical if one considers that Ladbrokes CEO Richard Glynn actually gave his opinion before the committee a few months later.
While Peninsula Business Services seems to lack direct links to the gambling industry, it is actually run by a gentleman name Peter Done, one of the founding brothers of online bookmaker BetFred (the other one being Fred Done). Beyond the family relationship Peter Done is also a BetFred shareholder.
Fairer Gambling accuses Davies of failing “to declare his gifts from the betting industry at select committee […] when submitting written questions on problem gambling and when speaking in an adjournment debate, where he argued that the gambling industry should not pay for problem gambling.”
As a consequence of the charges a parliamentary investigation has been launched against Philip Davies.