Thank you very much for your email about Football Index. I am very sorry about the losses that some constituents have incurred.
Malcolm Sheehan QC has completed an independent expert review of the regulation of the Football Index gambling product, which follows the Gambling Commission’s decision to suspend the operator’s licence while it carries out its own investigation.
Mr Sheehan’s report was completed in such a way to avoid prejudicing a number of processes and investigations into BetIndex Ltd. (Football Index’s operator). Given the legally sensitive nature of this and the possibility of prejudicing any future legal proceedings, I am not in a position to discuss the actions of BetIndex. I do, however, understand that the report identified areas where the Gambling Commission could have been more effective in responding to the challenges raised by the novel product from its licensing to eventual collapse. It is important to stress that the review was entirely separate from the administration proceedings, which are looking at assets and liabilities of the company and recompense to customers.
The report has also raised some important questions for the Government’s Review of the Gambling Act 2005 which is already taking a comprehensive and evidence-led look at gambling in this country, including a close examination of the Gambling Commission’s powers and resources. I welcome the fact that the Government has confirmed that the Review will consider whether the Commission should require gambling companies to do more to demonstrate their ability to cover liabilities arising from long term bets, especially if they make up a large proportion of their business.