Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has a reputation as an anti-gambling campaigner – but has received donations from gambling interests and his voting record is not what might be expected
Tom Watson has a reputation for campaigning against gambling, thanks to opposition to ‘fixed-odds betting terminals’ (FOBTs) and to gambling advertising. But he has also received donations or benefits in kind from individuals and companies with significant gambling interests.
In 2018, Watson – now the Shadow Minister responsible for the regulation of betting firms – declared in his register of interests hospital from Sky Betting and Gaming, the owner of multiple gambling brands:
Watson has also accepted tens of thousands of pounds in donations from casino games developer Derek Webb:
Webb joined forces with former Corbyn aide Matt Zarb-Cousin to campaign against FOBTs in betting shops – but as the Financial Times observed in 2017, he also campaigned for deregulation of casinos and for tax-cuts to casino operators:
Watson’s voting record on gambling has diverged from that of most Labour MPs, as the TheyWorkForYou site records:
Watson’s campaign against FOBTs has also attracted criticism:
The SKWAWKBOX asked Tom Watson about the apparent conflict of interest:
At the time of publication and in spite of a follow-up call to his office this afternoon, he had not responded.
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