DCMS appoints Sheehan QC to lead regulatory review of Football Index

DCMS has confirmed that Malcolm Sheehan QC will lead its independent review into the collapse of BetIndex, the operating company of failed football trading platform Football Index. 

Sheehan will conduct a review of the regulatory failings concerning Football Index’s collapse, which will be reported back to the government in its ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The review will cover the period of September 2015, when BetIndex’s licence was granted by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) up to March of this year when the company had its licence revoked.

In his remit, Sheehan will review the steps taken by the UKGC and other regulatory agencies governing Football Index’s changes of product, handling of customer complaints, assessment of financial circumstances and its decision to suspend BetIndex’s licence.

“The review will examine the actions of the Commission in assessing, licensing and monitoring the operator,” a DCMS statement read. “In addition, the review will examine the actions taken by the Financial Conduct Authority in determining whether the product should be regulated under the Financial Services and Markets Act.”

Cross-party ministers called for DCMS to launch an independent review of Football Index’s regulatory failings, following reports that customers had lost £90 million due to the platform’s collapse.

Updating stakeholders, DCMS underlined that Sheehan’s review would be independent from any of BetIndex’s ongoing administrative proceedings, which are examining the firm’s assets and liabilities.

The review will run independently of the UKGC’s ongoing investigation of BetIndex’s licence and conduct, with Sheehan expected to complete his  report on the findings of the review in the summer.

“Alongside any lessons learned for the regulators, the report will feed into the government’s ongoing Gambling Act Review,” the DCMS concluded. “The government intends to publish a white paper following the call for evidence on the Gambling Act Review before the end of the year.

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