Anti-gambling MP criticised for William Hill football tickets

North Antrim Member of Parliament for the Democratic Unionist Party Ian Paisley has come under fire after he reportedly accepted a gift from William Hill, despite his previous criticism of the industry.

The Parliamentarian had received two Premier League football tickets from the bookmaker in March this year, but had been noted in the Commons’ Register of Members Interests, valued at £1,000.

The Ulster MP has refused to comment on the gift received from the bookmaker. But despite the criticism for many for accepting the gift, it must be noted that Paisley did choose to register the gifts received on 10 March 2019.

It raises the question as to whether or not critics of the industry are effectively able to engage with the sector without receiving condemnation. If politicians are unable to contact those within the gambling industry then it may become more difficult to implement substantial changes.

Paisley has notably voted against a number of gambling legislations, stating his support for additional curbs on FOBTs, accusing them of being “a plague on many families.”

The same statement went on to add that such betting machines are just one part of the issue, adding that “online gambling addiction is the real problem”.

William Hill has continued its fight against problem gambling, however, with its Nobody Harmed campaign, which sees William Hill place social responsibility and corporate sustainability at the forefront of its day-to-day operations.

In the Commons chamber itself, Paisley has previously voted to tighten the law on planning permission for betting shops, but was absent from votes in 2013 and 2014 on fixed-odds betting machines according to TheyWorkForYou, which monitors MPs’ voting records.

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