Ex-Labour deputy leader takes job advising betting firm

Ex-Labour deputy leader takes job advising betting firm

September 17, 2020

Anti-gambling campaigner and ex-Labour deputy leader Tom Watson takes job advising firm which owns Paddy Power and SkyBet

  • Mr Watson will join Flutter Entertainment, one of the UK’s biggest gambling firms
  • The 53-year-old has been a vocal campaigner for restrictions on the industry 
  • It comes amid a government review of 2005 Gambling Act in Autumn this year 

Former Labour MP and anti-gambling campaigner Tom Watson has taken a job advising a betting firm that owns Paddy Power and SkyBet.

Mr Watson will join Flutter Entertainment, one of the UK’s biggest gambling firms, and advise them on best practice, as reported by The Financial Times.

The 53-year-old has been a vocal campaigner for tougher restrictions on the industry which has been under the spotlight this year for its treatment of vulnerable gambling addicts.

It comes amid a government review of the 2005 Gambling Act in Autumn this year, which could potentially lead to further regulation of betting firms.

Tom Watson (pictured outside Labour HQ in July last year) will join Flutter Entertainment, one of the UK’s biggest gambling firms, and advise them on best practice

Mr Watson said: ‘I have a long-standing interest in this sector and consistently called for action to protect those that may be potentially vulnerable to harm.

‘In taking on this role in Flutter, I intend to get under the bonnet of the business.

He added: ‘I strongly believe that working collaboratively with Flutter in this way will allow me to continue to drive positive change’.   

Mr Watson resigned from his West Bromwich East seat in 2019, choosing not to contest the general election. 

He was the former deputy leader of the Labour Party and survived an attempt by Jeremy Corbyn allies to oust him. 

Mr Watson – who first entered parliament in 2001 – was one of the most prominent campaigning MPs in the country. He rose to prominence after his role in exposing the hacking scandal at the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World. 

He also wrote a best-selling book called ‘Downsizing’ about his battle to lose eight-stone and reverse his Type-2 Diabetes. 

It is not the first role Mr Watson has taken up since he left front-line politics. He was appointed Chairman of UK music in April this year. The industry group represents the interests of the UK music industry. 

Peter Jackson, chief executive at Flutter Entertainment, said:  ‘We have to work harder than ever before to find a way to continue to bring great products and brands to our customers while always having the need to protect the vulnerable clearly in mind. Tom will hold a mirror up to help us make sure we are getting this balance right,’ 

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