UKGC Suspended Football Index: Reasons Why

UKGC Suspended Football Index: Reasons Why
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On 11 March 2021, the UK Gambling Commission announced its decision to suspend the operating licence of the Football Index. This Jersey-based company holding the licence for Football Index has been operating since 2015 and holds licence from the UK gambling watchdog and the Jersey Gambling Commission. 

The decision was referred to the 2005 Gambling Act which regulates the industry. Due to this licence suspension, the gambling operator is leaving its customers with tens of millions of pounds trapped on its platform. As the investigation is progressing and the Football Index is awaiting the Court for instructions on how to appropriately treat those funds, the commission has provided more details about this licence kept in abeyance.

Football Index Failure in Its Basic Duty

As stated by the UKGC, the commission started a formal review about the operations of the Football Index under section 116 of the Gambling Act following some preoccupations concerning the operator. This investigation had the purpose to address issues related to the gambling aspect of the product offered by BetIndex. At this stage of the investigation, the British regulatory authority noted that there is no evidence to suspend the firm's operating licence. 

The commission went further on its review by appointing an independent expert to examine the business model of the operator regarding the finances and appropriate regulatory framework applicable in its case. In this examination, the gambling watchdog noted in early March that BetIndex Limited had an intention to self-suspend in order to restructure and re-launch. This investigation has led the UKGC to suspend the company’s licence because the gambling regulator concerns about the timelines and position regarding client funds. 

According to the regulatory entity, Football Index's activities might have been carried on in purported reliance on the licence but not in compliance with a condition of the licence. The commission also added that this online betting firm might not be relevant to carry on with licensed activities. Moreover, this month UKGC suspended several companies operating not with GamStop and UK license, which is a must-have tool for British bookmakers.

What Will be the Outcomes of this Suspension?

  • Football Index Consumers Desperately Lose Their Funds

Released in 2015, Football Index is a gambling platform that allows traders to buy and sell Shares in footballers for real money. These football fans who want to become traders on a football stock market use their knowledge about the game to make money. Before this scandal, the platform had grown in popularity with more than half a million traders in late 2019. 

As the customers of Football Index hopelessly lose their funds, they wonder if there is any possibility to put the company on a short-term footing so they can take back their money. As a matter of fact, thousands of account holders have deposited up to tens of millions at Football Index who are worrying that money trapped in the platform has disappeared. This issue affecting the customers will be reviewed by the commission.

Moreover, owing to this suspension, the two Championship clubs; Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest announced that they were dropping the operator’s logo. Since BetIndex Limited, the parent company of Football Index is a member of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), this standards body announced its intention to protect the customers’ interests. It could take weeks or months to clearly estimate the scale of potential losses of this operator but it seems sure that this is the biggest failure.

  • The Collapse of the Company

The UKGC is aware of the consequences of the operating licence suspension. Not only will it lead to the financial decline of the firm but it will also endanger the customers' funds. As the gambling regulatory focuses on the significant steps to make gambling fairer and safer, the commission centers on treating consumers fairly and keeping them fully informed about the gambling impacts. Therefore, in the case of the Football Index, the regulator made it clear that the licence suspension is the only solution to provide the right regulatory result. 

As reported by the gambling company’s solicitors, all the payments within this platform had been suspended whereas its customers’ rights would be calculated and processed after some directions from the Court. Since the operator holds a Trust Account, all dividends are ensured to pay to the winning consumers. The licence of this labelling betting firm has been suspended but not removed pending the result of the regulator's investigation.