Thursday October 3,2013 : WESTMINSTER VERY INTERESTED IN ONLINE GAMBLING
 
Gambling websites receive 700,000 hits a year from computers in parliament
 
Brit parliamentarians and their staff appear to be keenly interested in online gambling, judging by figures released this week by monitors of internet traffic in the political centre.
 
The Daily Mail obtained the statistics under the Freedom of Information Act, and noted that gambling websites receive 700,000 hits a year from computers in parliament, or one every 45 seconds.
 
Bet365.com received 17,000 views in July alone from Westminster computers, and betting websites were accessed from the Houses of Parliament 1.3 times every minute.
 
The Mail says that parliamentary computers generating these numbers are used by MPs, peers and their staff.
 
The statistics show that accessing gambling websites declines during parliamentary breaks.
 
Robert Oxley of the TaxPayers' Alliance perhaps predictably criticised the amount of time staff spend on gambling websites, which he characterised as wasting tax-payer money through lost working hours..
 
He told the Daily Telegraph that there could be legitimate reasons for politicians monitoring the online gambling environment, but that the present level of access was far too high:
 
‘Those in Parliament should spend their time working, not trawling the net for a chance to bet the house,' said.
 
It seems that politicians and their staffs are not just interested in gambling; the Mail On Sunday revealed earlier this year that a website used by married people to have adulterous affairs was accessed up to 289 times a day by Westminster staff, who clicked through to it 52,375 times in seven months. The site has since been banned.
 
Facebook is also a popular online destination, receiving 28 million hits a year and online games such as FarmVille are clicked on thousands of times a month.
 
MPs, peers and their staff also attempted to access porn websites from their work computers 309,316 times in a year.
 
Records show computers on the Parliamentary estate access Facebook up to three million times a month – 400 times as often as they drop in on the BBC News website.
 
The Mail reports that the figures also reveal an extraordinary number of visits to supermarket shopping websites and computer gaming sites, and the controversial music downloading site Grooveshark, which is being sued by records labels for alleged copyright offences.
 
A House of Commons spokeswoman told the Mail that the gambling figures were not an accurate reflection of the time spent on betting websites as an unknown number may have come from spam.