igamingnext photo
The UK Gambling Commission is investigating a top Conservative Party staffer who is accused of placing an election bet using confidential knowledge.

Craig Williams, reportedly prime minister Rishi Sunak’s closest aide, placed a £100 bet on a July general election date at odds of 5/1 with Ladbrokes, just three days before the election was called.

The bet is understood to have rung alarm bells with Ladbrokes owner Entain due to Williams’ status as a politically exposed person, the Guardian reported.

The bookmaker is also reportedly extra cautious about its novelty markets, which the various forms of political betting are usually classified as.

Williams said in a post on X: “I’ve been contacted by a journalist about Gambling Commission inquiries into one of my accounts and thought it best to be totally transparent.

“I put a flutter on the General Election some weeks ago. This has resulted in some routine inquiries and I confirm I will fully cooperate with these.

“I don’t want it to be a distraction from the campaign. I should have thought through how it looks.”  

Election bet may represent criminal offence

The bet was linked to Williams via KYC details on his Ladbrokes account, his debit card and through a location tracker.

The Gambling Commission is reported to have informed Downing Street about the probe last week.

Using confidential information to gain a competitive advantage when betting may constitute a criminal offence.

Since the House of Commons was still in session when the bet was placed, the bet may also represent a violation of its code of conduct.

Williams is currently campaigning as the MP for Montgomeryshire & Glyndwr, having first been elected in 2019.

The scandal is another stumble for Sunak in what some have described as a catastrophic election campaign.

The Tories are trailing the Labour Party by more that 20 points, according to YouGov, with many predicting a landslide for the opposition.

A UKGC spokesperson told NEXT.io: “The Gambling Commission does not typically confirm or deny whether any investigations are underway unless or until they are concluded, or if arrests are made or charges are brought during a criminal investigation.

“If someone uses confidential information in order to gain an unfair advantage when betting, this may constitute an offence of cheating under Section 42 of the Gambling Act, which is a criminal offence.”

The news follows the publication of the Conservative Party’s manifesto, which contained no reference to the ongoing process of gambling reform which began under its tenure.

The gambling reform items which required primary legislation did not make wash-up after the general election was called, leaving many measures in limbo.

This contrasts with the Liberal Democrat manifesto, which called for several measures including much tighter gambling advertising restrictions.

Similar posts