UKGC unfazed on not having annulled Football Index licence beforehand
The UKGC has unveiled that Football Index was apparently being reviewed for about a year, but there were initially no reasons to annul its licence.
The UK Commission stated that it had started an in-depth review of Football Index’s parents company BetIndex back in May of 2020, when it was concerned about its operations. An accountant and barrister took a look into the company’s finances and analyzed them.
Despite that, the UKGC has said that there were no reasons to allow for the suspension of BetIndex’s licences back then. It also highlighted the fact that a cancellation of its licence could have put customer funds at risk, which would be an awful scenario.
The Commission said:
“We know from experience that the suspension of a license can, of itself, trigger or hasten the financial decline of an operator and put customer funds at risk. That is why we will always consider whether there are steps short of suspension that can still deliver the right regulatory outcomes and address the risks that consumers face without accelerating the financial collapse of a business.”
But then Football Index declared that it will be taking its platform offline in order to reorganize the business and launch it again afterwards, which was when the Commission decided to annul the licence.
This move came after the company made some big alterations to the payout system as it said that the former method it had was insupportable. The UKGC also noted that suspension is often the absolute last resort, as is mentioned in the country’s law.
The Commission also said that it had obtained promises that the player funds will not be put into the payment of debts, but it still noted that the courts will be the ones deciding on that matter. Many clients have rightfully been worried that they would lose all the money they had in their accounts.
These concerns made Leigh Day Solicitors state that it will be looking into representing such clients in a group submission against Football Index. Clean Up Gambling has voiced its support for this claim, and Leigh Day went on to say:
“These players have been misled by the platform and failed by the Gambling Commission”.
Despite that, the UKGC maintained that BetIndex has gathered all client winnings in a trust account, and the operator had promised that the payments have only been dropped in order to allow for the clients’ entitlements to be worked out. The courts will also be having the last decision on what happens to these funds, so such promises are surely not a hundred percent assured.
“The assurance the Commission has is that the funds in the trust account will not be distributed to any creditor other than customers. However, its ability to distribute immediately to customers, and if so which customers, is likely to be subject to the directions of the court rather than the Commission.”
Aside from that, this week, Neil McArthur resigned from his position as chief executive of the UKGC, however a spokesperson from the UK Commission mentioned that Football Index’s issue was not the cause behind why he left.