UKGC defends Football Index decision

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has spoken out about its decision to suspend Football Index’s remote gaming licence. 

The country’s regulator had been monitoring the operator, which went into administration last week, for just under a year. 

Monitoring commenced last May, but the UKGC originally saw no valid reason to suspend the permit of its parent company BetIndex. 

“We will always consider where there are steps short of suspension”

The Gambling Commission started reviewing Football Index from 20th May 2020. This decision was made after concerns were raised about the company and its operations. 

BetIndex’s finances were investigated by a barrister and accountant. “Complex legal questions over the appropriate regulatory framework” were also looked at.

 At the time, the UKGC saw no reason to suspend the operator’s licence. Beyond that, it was also concerned with potentially harming finances further. 

The Commission explained: “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.” 

Commission left with no choice in the end 

Before its licence was suspended, FootballIndex made large changes to its payout system. The entity also said that it would take its platform offline, so that it could focus on restructuring. 

At that point, the UKGC felt that it had exhausted all other options. Suspension is a last resort for the regulator, and it said that this is outlined in official UK legislation. 

Continuing its explanation, the regulator said: “We were satisfied that on 11th March, suspension was the only regulatory option left available to us.” 

What next? 

According to the UKGC, BetIndex’s solicitors have assured the regulator that payments have been suspended. This is to enable customer entitlements to be calculated. The Commission also said that customer winnings are held in a separate trust account. 

The UKGC also said that any payouts are likely to be decided by the court. It said: “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.”

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