The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and anti-gambling opponents in the UK have been pushing hard for the government to launch an investigation into the sudden collapse of the Football Index.
The Football Index was a stock market styled gambling website for Football fans that was licensed to operate by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). Football Index suddenly shutdown its operations in March 2021 without giving its players any prior warning. The site claimed that it was going through financial difficulties and was forced to close its doors.
The pressure for the UK government to launch an independent investigation has finally paid off as the Secretary of State for the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) John Whittingdale saying that the DCMS recognized that thousands of UK customers were impacted by the collapse of Football Index and had millions of pounds due to them in combined value.
A number of these customers have joined together to file a lawsuit against Football Index and have also filed charges against the UKGC for not carrying out its job with due diligence. Reports have emerged that the UKGC received information in early 2020 that all was not well with Football Index. The gambling watchdog was told that Football Index was similar to a Ponzi scheme but did not take any action on that information.
DCMS has confirmed that it will hire an independent firm to carry out an investigation into the Football Index collapse. The focus of the review will be to find out what went wrong and what steps the UKGC can take going forward to ensure that a similar situation does not occur.
UKGC To Also Be Investigate
A representative for Clean Up Gambling in the UK said that by taking this investigation out of the hands of the UKGC, it is quite clear that DCMS thinks that the UKGC has failed in its duties and has to be answerable to the public.
Given the charges and accusations being hurled at the UK gambling watchdog, the independent investigation will look at the role of the UKGC with regard to the collapse of Football Index. The investigation will cover what role the UKGC played in regulating operations at Football Index and the decisions that UKGC made with the information that was presented to them.
Apart from investigating overall operations of Football Index, a separate investigation will also be launched against BetIndex Limited – which is the parent company of Football Index.