The Gambling Commission needed a big defeat like a hole in the head. But with Football Index going down, and the regulator in severe danger of following suit, the Commission is like the Newcastle United of regulation – sliding down the table with hopes diminishing of fighting off relegation.
The Gambling Commission has come under fire for its handling of Football Index following reports that the regulator was made aware of the company’s operating difficulties over a year ago.
MPs have asked why the Commission approved Football Index’s betting licence as a company that marketed itself as a financial trading platform, requiring FCA approval. The regulator say that “the product evolved” and that it “identified that the product contains elements that are betting in nature”, which meant it required a gambling licence, despite the product also containing “elements are not considered gambling”.
Earlier this month Football Index owner BetIndex went into administration following the suspension of its licence. Betindex solicitors have assured the Commission that funds have been held in a “trust account” which will not be ‘distributed to any creditor other than customers’ – in which entitlements are currently being calculated with regards to compensation.
True to form, writing to the DCMS, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm demanded that the department take control of the regulator’s duties following its handling of Football Index.
Devoutly hostile to the Gambling Commission, the APPG wasted little time capitalising on the misfortune. “This can only be termed a scandal,” said AAPG Chair Carolyn Harris. “It underlines the need for wholesale reform of the gambling industry and raises significant questions of the Gambling Commission, given they saw fit to licence this platform and failed to enact adequate oversight.”
Meanwhile, London law firm Leigh Day Solicitors has stated that it had begun a review of the Commission’s procedures related to Football Index as it considers whether to represent affected customers ‘failed by the Gambling Commission’.