Football Index: Public Inquiries

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 31st March 2021.

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Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Labour, Norwich South

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will support a public inquiry into Football Index.

Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Labour, Norwich South

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to respond to the collapse of Football Index.

Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Labour, Norwich South

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with the Gambling Commission in response to the suspension of Football Index’s licence.

Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Labour, Norwich South

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with the Gambling Commission on why traders were allowed to continue depositing funds with Football Index until just before trading was suspended on that platform and the notice of administration was released on 11 March 2021.

Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Labour, Norwich South

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of any steps that were taken to protect deposited funds with Football Index whilst the Gambling Commission’s section 116 review was taking place.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

The Gambling Commission has suspended the licence of BetIndex Ltd, the operators of Football Index, and a live investigation is ongoing. The Secretary of State and I have met the Gambling Commission twice to receive urgent reports and are monitoring the situation very closely. Further information, including an update on the status of customer funds, can be found on the Commission’s website: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/news/2021/BetIndex-update.aspx

It is a condition of a gambling operating licence that customers should be able to withdraw funds from their accounts. The Commission acted to suspend BetIndex’s licence on learning that the operator planned to freeze access to funds. Operators who hold customer funds must tell customers whether funds are protected in event of insolvency and the level of the protection offered. Football Index provides a medium level of customer funds protection, which means customer funds are kept in accounts separate from business accounts, and arrangements are made to ensure assets in the customer accounts are distributed to customers in the event of insolvency.

The government has launched a Review of the Gambling Act 2005 and has called for evidence on a range of issues across the sector, including the powers and resources of the Gambling Commission. The call for evidence closes on 31 March, and we will be led by the evidence received.

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