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London calling: Messina’s casino gig causes trouble for David Cameron

Jim Messina’s consulting job for the American Gaming Association (AGA) has drawn some tough press for one of his other clients: British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Times of London noted Thursday that the Messina Group’s hire by the casino lobby comes as the British Parliament is debating tighter restrictions on gambling machines.

“How can voters trust David Cameron on gambling when his election guru has been appointed by one of the largest lobbyists for the gambling industry in the world?” Jon Ashworth, a member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee, told The Times.

Labour is in opposition to Cameron’s Conservative Party, which runs the United Kingdom’s coalition government, along with the Liberal Democrats.

Conservative Members of Parliament see Messina as a “trophy hire” for Cameron, according to the paper.

The Times cited reporting by The Hill this Monday about the AGA hiring several new members of staff and bringing on a number of consulting firms, including the firm run by Messina, who managed President Obama’s 2012 reelection bid.

The trade group is pushing to legalize online gambling, which three states have done already, with more expected to follow suit this year.

AGA is running up against one of the gaming industry’s most powerful figures. Sheldon Adelson, a major Republican donor and CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., opposes Internet gambling and is helping to finance a lobbying effort to have the practice banned.