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Game over for football gambling platform

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Written by: Emma Lunn
12/03/2021
Football Index, a betting app and website which lets users buy ‘shares’ in football players, has gone into administration.

The move means customers’ money is trapped and can’t be withdrawn.

Football Index is well-known in the world of football with adverts on podcasts and TV, and its logo on Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest shirts.

Launched in 2015, the platform acted as a virtual stock market for football players. Gamblers could make money if players they ‘owned’ rose in value, or via ‘dividends’ paid according to a player’s performance on the pitch. New players were launched via IPOs – ‘initial player offering’.

Customers were required to deposit and spend significant amounts of money on shares in order to receive dividends over a three-year period. Some users are reported to have six-figure sums held by the site.

Football Index is owned by BetIndex Ltd and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and Jersey Gambling Commissions.

The Jersey Gambling Commission ordered the company to suspend all licenced operations with immediate effect on Thursday evening. The order was made under enforcement powers specified under Article 35 of the Gambling (Jersey) Law 2012.

This suspension prevents the company taking on new business or transacting further gambling on its platform.

The UK Gambling Commission suspended BetIndex’s licence this morning. A statement by the UK Gambling Commission said:

“The Gambling Commission has decided to suspend the operating licence of BetIndex Limited (t/a Football Index) pursuant to section 118(2) of the Gambling Act 2005.

“The suspension follows an ongoing section 116 review into the operator, as we had concerns activities may have been carried on in purported reliance on the licence, but not in accordance with a condition of the licence, and that Football Index may not be suitable to carry on with licensed activities.

“We have made it clear to the operator that as the investigation progresses, we expect it to focus on treating consumers fairly and keeping them fully informed of any developments which impact them.”

Will gamblers get their money back?

The Jersey Gambling Commission said that BetIndex remained subject to its licence conditions, and pointed to its duty to protect and return customers’ funds.

A statement on the Football Index website last night said: “We are pursuing a restructuring arrangement to be agreed with our stakeholders including, most importantly, our community.

“We are preparing this through an administration with insolvency practitioners Begbies Traynor, to seek the best outcome for customers with the goal of continuing the platform in a restructured form.

“We fully understand and anticipate concerns regarding a temporary suspension of your ability to withdraw existing cash balances and assure you that they will remain held in a segregated account to be managed in conjunction with our advisors, protected by the trust arrangements that are in place and will be subject to review by the administrators.”

 

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