The CEOs of William Hill, Flutter Entertainment (aka Paddy Power Betfair), and GVC, owner of Ladbrokes have all declined an offer from the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on gambling harm to discuss their efforts to curb gambling addiction. All three executives had previously agreed to attend the meeting, which still took place with other gaming executives, but pulled out at the last minute, citing some version of prior commitments.
Carolyn Harris MP, who organized the get-together and heads the gambling APPG, called the withdrawal outrageous in a statement to the Guardian. She then proceeded to show exactly why the CEOs likely backed out by saying, “These are men who run companies that feed addiction, amass vast profits from the vulnerable and take home huge pay packets, yet they are too afraid to appear before MPs.”
All the gambling executives who backed out had attended meetings of one kind or another with Parliamentary figures in recent weeks, but weren’t keen on attending this meeting. That’s likely because the APPG was looking to discuss the issue of how gambling operators treat problem gamblers. This is a massive issue in the UK where long-time gambling industry marketing practices are increasingly under fire from lawmakers.
While three gambling CEOs were frustrated by those ever-present prior commitments, two others were able to attend. The CEOs of both Bet365 and SkyBet will meet with the MPs and, presumably, get an earful about how awful the gambling is in its current state. The CEO of Betfred was invited, but begged off because of prior commitments from the very beginning.