The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has received a huge donation amounting to around £8,000 from the casino industry of the United Kingdom. This donation was supposedly made moments before the institute released a report of its findings. This report recommended that the current ban on the establishment of new casinos be lifted.
Moments before this donation was made, some officials of the National Casino Industry Forum (NCIF) supposedly met those of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). The latter confided with the former sometime before drafting the final report. The report did not, however, mention this interaction in its final report though.
The report decried any attempt to further regulate the establishment of new casinos. It argued that there existed no reason to restrain mid-sized towns from accommodating newer casinos. The report is however open to any new opinions or calls for alterations.
This revelation of a donation was brought to the fore after the Guardian disclosed that the Institute of Economic Affairs had offered assistance to US nationals who had farming interests unbridled access to civil servants and top government officials.
These US nationals had planned to invest a whopping £35,000. Their meeting with Steve Baker, who at that time was the Brexit minister, was supposedly planned for by the said Institute of Economic Affairs.
The think-tank as a matter of fact also confirmed that several persons outside the Institute of Economic Affairs had been granted a peek into the report before it was finally drafted. It has however denied any possibilities of the final outcomes or conclusions being influenced by these interactions and access.
These developments have raised queries as regards the influence that the local casino industry may wield on the various institutions that are charged with the responsibility of overseeing it. The Local Labor party termed the developments as shamed.
In particular, it took issues with the Institute of Economic Affairs for its involvement in “widespread lobbying and scandalous political campaign activities.” It further stated policy was adhered to as part and parcel of the attempt to enable the think tank to pursue its precise goals.
Many members of the public have questioned themselves, ‘Could the independence of the think tank have been compromised?’
In consequence of these developments, some formal investigations have been launched to these effects. The Charity Commission has taken the lead in spearheading these investigations. Alyson White, yet another Government’s lobbyist, has also decided to initiate her own independent investigations.
Further to these, Ms. White has also revealed that she has launched an independent inquiry on whether the think tank, which was supposedly created as an educational non-profit organization, should, in fact, be registered as a lobbying body.
On its part, the Institute of Economic Affairs has downplayed any rumors of a possible breach of the existing charity laws. Its director, Mark Littlewood, while commenting on the issue argued that the contributors are unable to influence the final outcomes and conclusions of such a research in whatever shape and form.
The National Casino Industry Forum (NCIF) on the other hand, also denied any compliance with the research outcomes. It further went on to state that it neither commissioned nor paid for the report at all. It has maintained that those donations were made long after the report had already been instigated.