Entain Under Fire For Lobbying Against UK’s Gambling White Paper

Posted on: May 22, 2023, 07:42h. 

Last updated on: May 22, 2023, 04:57h.

Entain may have been building a “dishonest” lobbying campaign heading up to the release of the white paper, according to a report from The Guardian. The media outlet cites emails that confirm the company’s efforts.

Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen in a PR photo
Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen, seen in a PR photo, above. The company is under fire for convincing UK gamblers to lobby against the gambling white paper. (Image: EGR Global)

Shortly after the government revealed the reforms last month, Players’ Panel began contacting consumers to try to get them to pressure lawmakers to oppose the reforms. The entity appears to be one Entain launched in 2021.

We look forward to working with the government and the Gambling Commission on evidenced-based consultations and implementation of the proposals outlined today,”  Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen said in a statement shortly after the white paper arrived.

However, someone in the company was launching a campaign to reportedly undermine the efforts at the same time.

Lobbying Template

One email cited by The Guardian told the reader that the government would “limit when and how much you can bet,” adding that this would make it difficult to wager responsibly. Only those on the Players’ Panel’s mailing list reportedly received the email.

The organization then suggested that the recipient contact his or her legislative representative to roll back some of the reforms. They were even given 10 different email templates to choose how to respond to the “negative step” the white paper presented.

One template called the reforms unfair, while another asserted they infringed on freedom. Another targeted the removal of staking limits and affordability checks. Another made sure to point to a member of parliament and UK Culture Secretary, Lucy Frazer, for her involvement.

Lobbying the gaming industry – or any industry – isn’t illegal. However, lobbying for their well-being and survivability, the Players’ Panel made an egregious (and possibly intentional) oversight. The emails did it specify that it was an Entain-led endeavor.

Gambling Reforms

After the UK presented the white paper, the government invited gaming industry insiders and those along the periphery, such as the National Health Service, to provide input. Those channels of communication are now open.

UK Gambling Commission Deputy CEO Sarah Gardner said consultations are now underway, and the first result will be published this summer. That’s in keeping with the timeline the government established when it presented the reforms.

Gardner, who made her remarks during the annual conference of the Lotteries Council, cautioned that it could take several years for most of the reforms to be realized. She stressed that the goal was for the regulator, the government, and industry players to work together to ensure they “get it right.”

Several issues still have to be clarified, including questions about implementation, compliance remaining, and time frames.

Some believe that no further progress will be made until after next year’s government elections in the UK, after which some policies could be scrapped. However, Parliamentary Under Secretary Of State For Sport, Gambling and Civil Society Stuart Andrew is confident that won’t happen.