UK government confirms inquiry into Football Index collapse

An independent inquiry will deliver a report in the summer.
An independent inquiry will deliver a report in the summer.

The government has confirmed the launch of an inquiry into Football Index’s collapse, including the response of the Gambling Commission.

UK.- The British government has confirmed that it will hold an official inquiry into the collapse of Football Index, the so-called “football stock market” which went into administration last month.

The inquiry will include an investigation of the decisions taken by the Gambling Commission, which has been criticised for not intervening sooner, and aim to highlight lessons that can be learned.

Some questioned why the regulator had granted operator Bet Index a licence in the first place since it didn’t offer traditional sports betting products.

The inquiry, which will be led by an independent expert, will examine Football Index from September 2015 to its collapse in March.

It will publish its findings in the summer in time for them to be taken on board in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) current review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The new minister for gambling and lotteries, John Whittingdale, said: “We are setting up an independent inquiry so that we can find out how this happened.  

“We are determined to ensure that regulators have the right tools to protect customers and to deal with novel products. The gambling landscape is evolving rapidly and so we are also taking action by reviewing the Gambling Act to make sure our laws are fit for the digital age.”

Football Index inquiry welcomed by the regulator and gaming industry

The Gambling Commission, which has launched its own investigation of the Football Index collapse, said it welcomed the government inquiry and hoped it would focus more attention on products that blur the lines between gambling products and financial instruments.

A spokesperson for the regulator said: “We strongly welcome the government’s independent review into the regulation of Football Index and the focus it will bring on the way that those complex products, which to consumers can have the appearance of both gambling and financial characteristics, are currently regulated.

“Alongside other regulators, we look forward to fully engaging with the review. Our own regulatory investigation is continuing and will not be adversely impacted by the review.”

The industry association, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), of which Football Index was a member, also welcomed the inquiry.

A spokesperson said: “We strongly welcome this independent review of the regulation of Football Index, up to the point where its operator’s licence was suspended in March.

“Following the suspension of Bet Index Ltd’s operating licence by the Gambling Commission last month, we immediately suspended their membership of the BGC.

“We have been concerned about reports that the Gambling Commission was made aware of issues surrounding Football Index’s business model as early as the start of 2020, something the BGC was not made aware of at the time.

“The top priority remains consumer welfare and we hope that the inquiry leads to vital lessons being learned for the future.”

Football Index’s administrator has begun processing claims from customers who were left with money on the platform when it went into administration.

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Football Index Gambling Commission gambling regulation