Independent Review into Football Index Collapse Announced

Independent Review into Football Index Collapse Announced

The Government have announced that an independent review into the collapse of Football Index is to take place. In March of this year, the gambling platform was suspended by the Gambling Commission and then went into administration.

John Whittingdale, the Minister for Gambling and Lotteries announced the independent review. It will look at the circumstances that led to the collapse and be led by an independent expert. Talking about the collapse of Football Index, the Minister said that it had been “difficult” for those affected with “significant sums of money” being lost.

He added that the government 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.”

The move comes after a letter was sent to the Prime Minister last week by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) that looks into gambling-related harm. They had called for a public inquiry to be held but instead an independent one will be held. The review will look at the period September 2015 to the date when the BetIndex licence was suspended, namely 11 March 2021.

£90 Million Invested

The Football Index site is run by BetIndex and used elements of a stock market but with a twist. Users were able to buy ‘shares’ in footballers. How those players performed determined whether a dividend was received as the share prices fluctuated. The number of users ran into the hundreds of thousands. Many had six figure sums ‘invested’ and it’s believed that as much as £90 million in funds has not been returned to users.

Just what the independent review finds will be made public in the summer. There are several areas that the independent review will be looking at. It will also take a close look at the actions and decisions made by the Gambling Commission.

There has been a great deal of criticism of the way in which they have dealt with the Football Index collapse. Many have said that the Commission should have acted earlier. Doing so may well have prevented the losses that users have incurred.

Therefore, the review will look at how the activities of Football Index were regulated. Once that has been carried out, they will be able to see if improvement is needed. This isn’t the only investigation taking place. There is also one being carried out by the Gambling Commission.

Independent Review

The announcement of the independent review has been welcomed by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). They said that the Gambling Commission had been made aware of problems at Football Index in early 2020. However, no action was taken nor was the BGC made aware of any issues. A BGC spokesman said: “The top priority remains consumer welfare and we hope that the inquiry leads to vital lessons being learned for the future.”

Meanwhile there is no news of any payments being made to users of the Football Index site. Administrators are carrying out the job of examining the assets and liabilities that exist. Once that is calculated, then some recompense may be made to site users.