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UK Gambling Commission Under Fire for Football Index Sudden Collapse

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Mar/16/2021

The UK Gambling Commission announced this week that it has suspended the licence of online betting operator Football Index claiming it had prevented traders from withdrawing funds from the site following a market crash.  On Tuesday it was reported that Oakvale Capital, a financial advisory group that specialises in gambling, is understood to be leading a search for investment in the company.

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Football Index, which launched in 2015, mimics the stock market by allowing users to trade in "shares" of football players.

The UKGC issued this statement: "We have made it clear to the operator that as the investigation progresses, we expect it to focus on treating consumers fairly and keeping them fully informed of any developments which impact them."

A cross-party group of MPs has written to culture minister Oliver Dowden demanding an inquiry into how the company was regulated.  The Gambling Commission is without a permanent leader following the surprise immediate resignation of its chief executive this week.

In a statement released shortly after the company's collapse, Football Index said: "The dividend restructure announced on Friday was a necessary step in a business recovery plan to seek the long-term sustainability of the platform. However, it is clear that this has not been well received and we need to find a more agreeable way forward.

"We are pursuing a restructuring arrangement to be agreed with our stakeholders including, most importantly, our community."

The search for a rescue comes ahead of a court hearing in Jersey this Thursday that will begin an administration process.

Law firm Leigh Day said it was exploring the possibility of legal action on behalf of any customers who have lost money.

Leigh Day partner Nichola Marshall told the Guardian: “Whilst it is very early days in our investigations on behalf of the thousands of people who have lost money, there are serious questions which will need answering regarding what has happened at Football Index and what the Gambling Commission understood of Football Index’s activities.”

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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