The past week was tough for one major UK betting company as many of Football Index’s customers were angry at an unexpected drop in dividends. This led to a market crash as the company’s shares declined drastically and the platform was forced to close down. Following the scandal and the questionable operation of the betting operator, the UK Gambling Commission decided to revoke Football Index’s license.
Meanwhile, the safety of vulnerable individuals continued to be one of the main issues in the iGaming sector in the UK. As a way to ensure better protection, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm (APPG) called for a ban on gambling-related commercials on TV.
Football Index Justifies Its Actions as a Business Recovery Strategy
As Football Index announced a surprising reduction in dividends, many of its users were angry as they have lost huge amounts of money that most probably could not be recovered. While the betting platform expressed its understanding towards worried customers, it justified its decision with the substantial losses that the company has suffered in the last few months during the pandemic.
According to Football Index, the reduction in dividends was a part of its new rebuilding strategy that was implemented as a tool that would offset the huge losses in the past few months. What really angered customers, however, was the decision to sell new shares on top football players just before its announcement about dividend reductions.
Following the scandal, many accused Football Index of being a Ponzi or a pyramid scheme. The huge popularity of the betting platform in the UK was largely thanks to its advertising deals with major football clubs and players in the UK. One could even see the players from the EFL Championship teams wear jerseys with the Football Index logo, helping to further boost the popularity of the betting platform.
During the ongoing pandemic, the company continued to ensure its customers that it is financially stable and it is less risky than other traditional betting operators. This is why the rebuilding strategy excuse did not seem to match the previous statements of the company.
Following a review on Football Index, the UK Gambling Commission decided to suspend the operating license of BetIndex Limited (trading as Football Index). The regulator had concerns about the betting platform not conducting ist services in accordance with the conditions of the license. As the Commission’s investigation continues, Football Index is required to keep its customers informed about any further developments that may affect their experience with the betting platform.
APPG Concerned About Gambling Advertisements on Daytime Television Channels
Last week, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm (APPG) issued a letter to major UK television channels such as ITV and Channel 5. In its letter, the party expressed its concern about gambling advertisements being broadcasted on daytime TV channels in the UK. This is why the APPG requested major TV channels to end their sponsorships with gambling companies as gambling-related issues have become a great concern among the UK population.
According to the APPG, the gambling advertisements broadcasted on major TV channels are glamorising gambling and are trying to convince vulnerable groups such as women and young adults by encouraging them to get involved in different gambling activities. In the letter, the APPG pointed to the Australian television show Neighbours as an example. The soap-opera is broadcasted on Channel 5 and is sponsored by Entain Plc’s GalaBingo.
The APPG said that limiting gambling advertisements during the daytime on TV channels is especially important during the pandemic. As many children spend more time at home, they are more likely to be exposed to gambling advertisements that can be seen on daytime channels. The request of the APPG was also backed by 52 experts who have experience with combating gambling issues.
Under the current advertising laws in the UK, daytime television channels are allowed to be sponsored by bingo and casual games providers who are licensed in the UK. The only restrictions in the current laws apply only to online casino advertisements. In the summer of 2019, bookmakers licensed in the UK adopted a whistle-to-whistle ban on advertisements on daytime TV channels as a part of the new advertising code of conduct of the Betting and Gaming Council.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced that the current gambling advertising laws in the UK will also be revised during the scheduled review of the Gambling Act 2005.