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Ladbrokes owner funded ‘dishonest’ lobbying against gambling reforms

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The owner of Ladbrokes, Entain, has been accused of “dishonest” lobbying after it funded an operation mobilising people to complain to their MP about proposals to reform gambling laws.The government last month unveiled plans for tighter regulation, including measures it said would make gambling safer but would also reduce revenue for brands such as Coral and PartyCasino, owned by Entain.At the time, Entain’s chief executive, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, said the company welcomed “an important step towards having a robust regulatory framework that is fit for the digital age and creates a level playing field for all operators”.But emails seen by the Guardian indicate that, despite supporting the white paper in public, Entain was funding a lobbying operation designed to water it down or overturn it.Days after the white paper was published, an organisation called the Players’ Panel, which claims to represent the interests of ordinary gamblers, wrote to people who had signed up to receive information about its work. “The government has decided to limit when and how much you can bet,” said the email. “This is going to significantly impact your ability to bet responsibly.”The Players’ Panel then urged the recipients to write to their MP opposing the reforms.As the Guardian has previously revealed, the group is funded and managed by Entain.

At no point in the emails did the group disclose this, although the company’s name can be found on the group’s website.Members of the group who were invited to write to their MP were then provided with 10 letter templates, some targeted at individual elements of the government’s gambling white paper.One template referred to “a massive infringement on my personal freedom” and suggested that the MP

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