Thank you to those who have contacted me about the collapse of Football Index and the Gambling Commission’s suspension of its operating licence.
I appreciate your concerns about this issue, and that many people have lost substantial amounts of money because of it. I understand people naturally feel very strongly about this matter.
The UK Government has stated that it appreciates the significant impact of the collapse of Football Index on former customers, and that administration proceedings are ongoing for BetIndex, which owned Football Index, looking into its assets and liabilities and what is owed to customers.
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.
As you know, the Government set up an independent review into the Gambling Commission, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the collapse of Football Index, which reported in September 2021. This said the Commission could have responded better to the situation with earlier scrutiny, quicker decision-making, and better escalation of issues. I understand the Commission states it has already acted on several recommendations and that increased funding will allow it to continue to improve its oversight of the industry and outcomes for customers.
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.