Thank you for emailing me about the collapse of Football Index.
I share your concern regarding this incident, and I would like to offer my deepest sympathies for you and others who have been affected. I have been informed that the Gambling Commission has suspended the operator’s licence while it carries out an investigation and has made clear it expects the operator to focus on treating customers fairly.
It is my understanding that when the Gambling Commission licenses an operator, they take into account suitability, including their financial circumstances. They do not oversee their businesses on a day-to-day basis or monitor the financial health of operators directly in real time. I do, however, recognise the distress caused by the financial affairs of Football Index, and I am pleased that the Minister for Media and Data, John Whittingdale, and the Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden, have met with the Gambling Commission on multiple occasions to receive urgent reports. I will be following this matter closely and it is my hope an appropriate resolution can be found.
Alongside the review being carried out by the Gambling Commission, I warmly welcome the fact that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced that an independent expert will conduct a review of the regulation of the Football Index gambling product, up to the point where its operator's licence was suspended in March, and to make recommendations to Government and the regulators. This independent review is separate to that investigation being carried out by the Gambling Commission and will be carried out and report in a way which will not compromise it. Its findings will also form part of the evidence informing the Government's Review of the Gambling Act 2005.
In December 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced a major and wide-ranging review of gambling laws to ensure they are fit for purpose. This review will look in detail at how gambling has changed in the last 15 years, examining gambling advertising as well as the Gambling Commission’s role and powers. The findings will then be used to inform any changes to the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure customer protection is at the heart of the regulations, while giving those that gamble safely the freedom to do so.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.