British Gambling Commission expands investigation into election date bets

The Gambling Commission has received details of all significant bets placed on the election date.
The Gambling Commission has received details of all significant bets placed on the election date.

The regulator is reportedly studying hundreds of bets placed on the date of the UK election.

UK.- The Gambling Commission has reportedly expanded its probe into insider betting on the date of the general election. The Daily Mail says the regulator is investigating a “Tory party betting ring” with four Conservative politicians already being scrutinised and potentially hundreds more bets being probed.

The Times has reported that the Gambling Commission has been presented with a dossier containing details of all bets on the date of the election that would have won more than £199. It will use this to identify whether anyone else linked to the Conservative party placed bets shortly before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the election would be held on July 4.

The latest person to be linked to the scandal is the Conservative Party‘s chief data officer, Nick Mason. He has taken a leave of absence amid reports that he placed “dozens of bets” on the date when the election would be held. The Conservative Party has announced that it has started an internal investigation into all of the cases.

The Gambling Commission had previously confirmed it had launched a probe into potential insider betting. It did not confirm the details of the bets being investigated or the identities of those suspected. However, the BBC had reported that the regulator had begun an investigation into an alleged bet by Laura Saunders, the Conservative candidate for Bristol North West. Her husband is Tony Lee, the Conservative’s campaign director husband. He has taken a leave of absence.

Those investigations followed reports that Craig Williams, who was the Prime Minister’s parliamentary private secretary and is the Conservative candidate for Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, placed a £100 bet on the election date. The bookmaker Ladbrokes raised the alert after it identified Williams as a politically exposed person (PEP). Meanwhile, a police officer in Sunak’s protection team has been arrested on suspicion of misconduct for allegedly betting on the general election date, bringing the number of people known to be involved in investigations to five.

The Gambling Commission has confirmed that it is investigating the possibility of “offences concerning the date of the election” but could not provide more details. It said it could not confirm or deny the identity of those involved.

It stressed that the use of confidential information to gain an unfair advantage in betting can be considered cheating and a criminal offence under Section 42 of the Gambling Act. Penalties can be up to two years in prison and/or a fine.

With Labour already favourites to win the election, the gaming hall association Bacta has been urging its members to start lobbying candidates on the sector’s interests. Even if the Conservatives hang on to the government, there will be a new minister responsible for gambling. Stuart Andrew has resigned since his constituency ceased to exist due to boundary changes.

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