UKGC to make changes following Football Index investigation

Simona Boshkova | Published 23 Sep 2021, 11:26 a.m.

For those who are not familiar with the case, Football Index was a UK gambling product from BetIndex. In March, it was suspended as a result of its division to cut dividends on players from 14p to 3p. 

After entering administration, Betindex’s operating licences were revoked and its membership of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) was also suspended. Back in July 2021, the UK Gambling Commission gave an update on the Football Index investigation, telling the public that BetIndex is still in administration.

Now, the investigation is done and UKGC announced it will be making changes to the way it regulates innovative digital gambling products. The announcement comes after the Independent Review of the Regulation of BetIndex Limited was published. 

In the Review, it was pointed out that both UKGC and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) could improve in certain areas.

Changes to UKGC’s regulatory practices

The Independent Review of BetIndex was led by Malcolm Sheehan QC. It examined the issues that led to the company’s downfall in order to identify areas for improvement. 

According to the findings, it was revealed that BetIndex did not inform the UKGC of changes to Football Index after it was launched. The operator also failed to notify UKGC of the ‘nature of the product’ in its licence application. 

At the same time, the investigation found out that UKGC could have acted quicker and better responded to the challenges.

In response to the investigation, the UKGC announced it will make changes to its regulatory practices. This includes the inclusion of ‘novel products’ as a factor when making assessments of an operator’s risk. 

Moreover, the Commission will strengthen its Memorandum of Understanding with the FCA and improve the connection between financial services and gambling enterprises. Plus, UKGC plans to introduce tighter rules for the terminology used to describe gambling products, such as the use of the phrase ‘investments’ to describe wagering.

Increase in UKGC’s funding

The newly appointed UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes said: 

“No amount of explanation of what happened to Football Index will take away the justifiable hurt and anger its customers are experiencing having lost, in some cases, life-changing amounts of money when the gambling company collapsed.”

“We accept and agree that we should have drawn a line under our efforts sooner, but this does not mean those customers would not have lost money in the event of the BetIndex company collapsing. Throughout this case, we sought the best outcome for consumers within the scope of our regulatory powers.”

“The review provides a number of helpful recommendations for how both regulators can work better together and for how our regulatory approach deals with novel products.

Finally, Andrew Rhodes announced that the UK Government will increase the funding for the UK Gambling Commission from October. This will help them to improve oversight of the industry and improve outcomes for consumers.

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