British Gambling Commission probes bets placed on election date

Betting using insider knowledge can be considered cheating and a criminal offence.
Betting using insider knowledge can be considered cheating and a criminal offence.

The gambling regulator has confirmed that it is investigating potential insider betting.

UK.- The British Gambling Commission has confirmed it has launched a probe into potential insider betting on the date of the general election. It has not confirmed the details of the bets being investigated, but at least two Conservative candidates are reported to have placed bets that an election would be called for July 4 not long before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made the announcement.

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 reportedly taken a leave of absence, but the party is facing pressure to suspend Saunders.

It had previously been reported that the Gambling Commission was investigating a £100 bet allegedly placed by Craig Williams, an aide to Sunak. That bet was flagged up by the operator Ladbrokes as it identified Williams as a politically exposed person (PEP). Also, a police officer in Sunak’s protection team has been arrested on suspicion of misconduct for allegedly betting on the general election date.

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 changes in boundaries.

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