Football Index License Suspended; Enters Administration

UK Gambling Commission suspends Football Index operating licence; company enters administration and ceases betting activity

The UK Gambling Commission has suspended the operating licence of online betting company Football Index, with the company subsequently filing for administration.

In a statement published on the Gambling Commission website:

“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.” 

In the statement, the Commission voiced concerns about activities carried out not in accordance with the firm’s betting license. The Commission also stated, “that Football Index may not be suitable to carry on with licensed activities.”

Launched back in 2015, Football Index marketed itself as a “challenge to traditional bookmakers”. The site functioned as an online betting exchange similar to the stock market. 

Users trade in “shares” of football players, which rise and fall in price, receiving dividends based on player performance. 

This is not the first time the company has caused controversy. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled in 2019 that Football Index services were falsely presented as an investment.

Following on from an earlier series of price crashes, the firm announced a series of policy changes on 5 March. These changes reduced payouts on players, leading to a market price crash as player share prices plummeted.

A Crash Course

All betting on the site has been suspended, with customers unable to make deposits or withdrawals since the UK Gambling Commission review. If the business collapses, individual customers could face substantial losses. 

Football Index announced their intention to enter into administration in an 11 March statement, while users’ funds “…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.”

The company went on to state: “We are pursuing a restructuring arrangement to be agreed with our stakeholders…  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.”

The UK Gambling Commission stated its expectations Football Index would “focus on treating consumers fairly and keeping them fully informed of any developments which impact them.”

Site users were not the only ones impacted by the company’s recent move into administration; Football clubs Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers are both now in need of new sponsorship. 

In addition to sponsoring Forest since the start of the 2019-20 season, the firm had an upcoming deal with London-based club QPR. According to a recent Bloomberg article, the Football Index logo will no longer feature on either team’s shirt.

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