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Possible Scandal At Ladbrokes Coral
The UK based Ladbrokes Coral – one of the largest operators offering online casino games to Canada and the world – has been making political contributions to several key members of the UK parliament, the BBC recently reported:
Ladbrokes’ lobbying efforts have raised several eyebrows over the issue of impartiality and undue influence, given the fact that the donations are being made in the middle of an ongoing and thorough review by the British Parliament of the overall UK gambling industry.
Nearly $10k Donated
Detractors of the move are decrying the donation of nearly $10k to four single MP’s known to have significant influence over gambling legislation.
Two of them – Philip Davies and Laurence Robertson – head up organizations with significant influence over Parliament’s views on gambling. Mr. Davies is the chairman of the Parliamentary All-Party Betting & Gaming group, while Mr. Robertson jointly chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Racing and Bloodstock Industries Group.
Activity Comes Amidst Crackdown
Adding to the firestorm surrounding the donations is the fact that the UK Gambling Commission has recently been very active handing out fines and penalties to errant operators.
Most recently, The Commission hit another huge UK online casino operator – 888 – with a record $10m fine for failing to protect problem gamblers properly at their sites. The choice to protect vulnerable consumers is not unusual, but The Commission’s choice to hand out such a large penalty is.
Given the recent uptick in strong regulatory oversight, many are questioning the motives behind Ladbrokes’ decision to make such large contributions at this point and time.
Need For Strong Regulation
The online casino industry is based on players’ trust they are getting a fair game, their money is safe, and the site they play at will protect them from problem gambling.
With that in mind, ensuring regulation is done fairly and takes into account the needs and interests of both players and operators alike is critical to the experience. For that reason, it’s unsurprising that even the hint of potentially undue influence is being taken very seriously.