UK Conservatives Betting Scandal: Everything We Know So Far

  • The Conservatives are facing an uphill battle in the election with a betting scandal to handle
  • It began when it was revealed top PM aide Craig Williams placed a £100 ($128) wager on the date
  • Now, four Tory insiders in total have been embroiled in the scandal, including a policeman
  • Many bets were placed on the Betfair Exchange just one day before the announcement in May
Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak is facing a difficult time for the upcoming General Election due to a betting scandal. [Image:]

A busy time for MPs

The UK General Election is on the horizon, meaning hopeful politicians are busy making promises to constituents, kissing babies, and debating each other on TV.

a betting scandal has just made matters even worse for the Tory camp

Not many have given the Conservatives much hope of beating Labour this time around, the latter being +2100 for a majority, and a betting scandal has just made matters even worse for the Tory camp.

Here is everything we know about the scandal so far.

It started with Williams

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seemed to surprise most people on May 22 when he announced the General Election date for July 4 – not everyone was so shocked though.

Craig Williams, one of Sunak’s most prominent aides, placed a £100 ($128) bet on the General Election date. He made the wager only three days before Sunak announced the date, securing odds of +500 with Ladbrokes.

Since Ladbrokes has a system in place to flag strange activity from “politically exposed” people, the case was referred to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The 39-year-old politician said he planned to “fully cooperate” with any inquiries by the gambling regulator and apologized for the distraction during a campaign.

I should have thought how it looks”

“I’ve clearly made a huge error of judgment, that’s for sure,” Williams said. “I should have thought how it looks.” He is standing for re-election in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr.

David Cameron, the UK Foreign Secretary, blasted Williams for his “very foolish” action.

Four people in total

It didn’t stop at Williams, however. Three more Conservative Party insiders have now found themselves embroiled in the scandal. This includes Director of Campaigning Tony Lee, Tory election candidate Laura Saunders, and a police officer in the PM’s personal protection team.

Like Williams, Saunders has confirmed that she intends to cooperate fully with the UKGC investigation. She did, however, say that “it is inappropriate to conduct any investigation of this kind via the media,” warning that this “risks jeopardizing the work” of the UKGC. She is the Tory Party candidate in Bristol North West.

In response to the broadening scandal, Sunak has confirmed that he is “incredibly angry to learn of these allegations.” He said that he will ensure anyone found to have broken gambling rules will be “booted out of the Conservative Party.”

Betfair revelations

While there are just four involved in the betting scandal so far, it could be that the situation is bigger than we think. The UKGC is investigating a number of last-minute bets placed on the July election in which anyone stood to earn more than £199 ($251.03).

a sudden flood of bets” on Betfair Exchange on May 21

According to The Guardian, there was “a sudden flood of bets” on Betfair Exchange on May 21, just one day before Sunak made his announcement. This was supposedly before Sunak has even informed his cabinet that the early election was going ahead.

An average of £27 ($34.12) per day was gambled on the July election date between January and May. But in the days before the PM’s announcement, says The Guardian, dozens of bets were placed on the outcome, with stakes totaling £3,285 ($4,151). Notably, these were bets with just one sportsbook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *