The casino industry in the United Kingdom has donated a total of £8,000 to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) following a report that the thinktank published online, supporting online gambling. This report focused on lifting the restrictions placed on the number of casinos in the country.
After fact-checking a draft of the report that was published, the National Casino Forum (NCF) confirmed that it had made the donation. High ranking officials of the forum met with the author of the report prior to it being written and also received feedback regarding its conclusions before the report was launched.
The report itself was published as something of a discussion paper by the IEA, which did not include any mention of casino owners being involved.
It goes on to conclude that regulations which exist now are causing more obstacles than necessary to extra casinos opening up. Furthermore, it went on to state that there isn’t any “obvious reason” why in a “reasonably sized” city or town, at least one small casino shouldn’t be hosted.
The IEA has plainly stated that anyone who exists outside of the thinktank and had seen the report prior to it being published and denied its conclusions at the time, had had their minds changed or influenced by it.
Speaking of the donation from the NCF, this came about after it emerged that the IEA has been in the process of serving up potential donors that have an interest in US farming, with instant access to government ministers and civil servants. This has been done to try and raise money to aid research for promoting certain free-trade deals that are championed by certain hardline Brexiters.
At the time, the IEA had an hour-long conference with the Brexit minister of the time, Steve Baker. This was put together for a US donor, with the organisation pledging a total of £35,000. Following this, the Charity Commission would investigate things, after concerns were raised over the thinktank’s political independence. The IEA currently exists as an educational charity, yet the government were brought in to investigate whether the charity should be registered under the title of a lobbying organisation instead.
The IEA did deny that it had breached any sort of charity law, with the director of the charity, Mark Littlewood, stating that any donors are not able to “influence the results and conclusions” of research done.
Details on its arrangements with casino operators have not been released, as the IEA declined to make any kind of comment on the situation. However, a spokeswoman did say that it is absolutely legal and legitimate to check certain facts and information with industry representatives. However, she said that this “does not mean that they have any sway or influence” when it comes to the conclusions of research done by the IEA.
The NCIF also did not respond officially on record, yet a source would later confirm that it had made the £8,000 donation after the launch of the report, with the event for this being attended by members of the forum.