UKGC issues update on BetIndex administration as investigation continues

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released an update on the situation regarding BetIndex, the parent company of football trading exchange Football Index, which remains in administration.

Explaining its stance, the regulator stated that it is the responsibility of BetIndex administrators and the courts to resolve the return of funds to customers affected by the collapse of Football Index.

The collapse occurred in March of this year after the firm made the decision to slash dividends on players traded via the platform from 14p to 3p, resulting in customers losing considerable sums of money.

Betindex subsequently entered administration shortly after Football Index declared an end to trading operations, whilst its licences were revoked by both the UKGC and Jersey Gambling Commission (JGC) and its membership of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) was also suspended.

Begbies Traynor is the firm currently serving as the insolvency practitioner of BetIndex, having taken on the role in March during the onset of financial difficulties, and officially initiating customer hearings in May.

In its update the UKGC detailed: “Whilst our investigation is ongoing our priority is that BetIndex focuses on treating its customers fairly and keeping them fully informed of any developments which impact them.”

Explaining the coming steps for the redistribution of £4.5 million in funds to former Football Index customers – known as the ‘Trust Deed monies’, which had been put aside by the operator to cover customer stakes in the event of financial difficulties – the regular disclosed that ‘repayment of the monies to customer wallets is continuing as planned’.

The funds are currently being held by the Viscount of Jersey, and a court on the island convened on 22 June to recognise an order by the High Court of England and Wales for the repayment of customer funds.

It was estimated earlier this year that £3.2 million is owed to former Football index users, leaving BetIndex with a surplus of £1.8 million. The UKGC has now informed that customers will be notified by email, after which they can log into their Football Index account and request a withdrawal.

However, the UKGC has also acknowledged that some customers have raised concerns regarding the ‘share portfolio’ part of the Football Index product. There has currently been no valuation of any ‘share portfolios’, and the UKGC maintains that it would not be involved in such a valuation, which would fall outside its powers as a regulator.

“Whilst there will be limitations on what information we can publish whilst our regulatory investigations are ongoing, we will continue to provide updates whenever we have further information to share,” the Commission concluded.

The UKGC’s handling of the Football Index collapse has received substantial criticism, with the BGC raising concerns that the regulator had been warned about issues surrounding the firm’s business model in 2020, whilst DCMS announced it would launch an investigation into the situation.

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