I know that a number of constituents in Lewisham Deptford and elsewhere have lost substantial amounts of money because of the collapse of Football Index.
The UK Government has stated that it has met with the Gambling Commission on this matter, and that it takes very seriously the concerns of Football Index customers.
I know that members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm previously wrote to Ministers, raising questions about actions taken by the Gambling Commission and requesting an inquiry into the events leading to the collapse of Football Index.
The Government announced that this would begin in April 2021 investigating the role taken by the Gambling Commission in the collapse of Football Index and what lessons can be learned to ensure that more customers in the future are not faced with losing vast sums of money. I am aware that the Gambling Commission has stated that it suspended Football Index’s licence once it was satisfied it had no other regulatory option left to it. The Government expects the findings to be published this summer. I can assure you I will follow developments on this matter.
The Government launched its call for evidence into the Gambling Act 2005 in December last year, which closed on 31 March 2021. It says it aims to publish a White Paper into its findings by the end of the year.
More widely, I believe the law on gambling should be approached from a public health perspective to protect the vulnerable and particularly children and young people, but to allow others who choose to do so to gamble safely.
I welcome the gambling review because UK gambling legislation is more than 15 years old. It is right that the legislation is brought up to date. We need fit-for-purpose, evidence-based regulation that is targeted effectively to reduce gambling-related harm, and that can keep up with the changing nature of gambling online. We must also ensure the right support is in place to tackle the highly serious matter of problem gambling.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue and I very much hope that once the inquiry’s findings are published we will all be able to better understand exactly what went wrong so that we can prevent any similar situations in the future.