Football Index has become a hot issue in the UK gambling industry for the last several months after it went bust in early 2020. The latest news surrounding the company is about the customers who were affected by the downfall of Football Index and were waiting to be paid for several months now.
Other news from the gambling sector in the UK is concerning a report of the UKGC, revealing a decline in gambling activity and the gross gambling yield (GGY) for May. The report’s purpose was to reveal the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns on online gambling in the UK.
Football Index Starts Repaying Its Customers
Last week, the administrators of Football Index confirmed that the betting platform’s customers can start withdrawing the money from their accounts. Back in March, when the betting platform crashed, it was estimated that members of Football Index lost about £90 million.
At the beginning of last week, the administrators Begbies Traynor warned Football Index that the payouts would be delayed as a result of an ongoing dispute with the company providing a platform for payments, Index Labs. Just one day later, however, the same administrators announced that starting Tuesday, customers were able to request withdrawals of their funds.
In a Twitter post, the chief executive of the UKGC, Andrew Rhodes, announced that the regulator is closely monitoring the events related to the delay of the payments. He tweeted that the Commission is well aware of the obstacles that prevented Football Index from repaying its customers earlier. This is why the regulator will continue its investigation on the issue, emphasising that consumers should be everyone’s top priority.
Rhodes confirmed that the funds that will be repaid to customers of the platform will only include their cash balances and they will not comprise of any money from shares or due via dividends.
Last month, in a ruling of a High Court, it was estimated that Football Index should repay its customers the amount of roughly £3.2 million.
Football Index was a subsidiary company of Jersey-based BetIndex, which is holding a trust fund where money is collected for the purpose of covering financial difficulties and paying customers of the platform.
The Football Index issue is investigated by the government, with Malcolm Sheehan QC leading the independent review of the platform’s collapse. The period covered by the review will include the time between BetIndex first receiving its UKGC license (September 2015) and its suspension after the collapse this March.
UKGC Report Reveals a Drop in Gambling Activity and GGY
At the end of last week, the UKGC published a report that showed a 14% decline in the gambling activity among UK players and bettors from March to May. While the numbers for March and April were estimated at 12.5 million, in May, they dropped to 10.8 million. Meanwhile, GGY declined by 5%, dropping down to £5.3 billion from £5.6 billion in April. The number of total bets for this period, however, remained the same.
Despite the decline in gambling activity, the report shows a GGY increase to £211 million in May. The number of spins surged by 2%, while the number of active players dropped by 5%. The number of slot sessions that lasted longer than one hour declined by 1% compared to the data from April. The average duration of slot sessions increased to 20.7 minutes, with 9% of all sessions going over an hour.
The aim of this report was to show the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown measures on the online gambling industry in the UK. The Commission, however, advised against comparing the results from 2021 to those from 2020 as the operating circumstances during the two periods were very different.
The UKGC urged operators to be even more diligent with implementing the right measures to protect players. As the government is continuously easing the lockdown measures, operators must be extra vigilant as consumers may be affected by the unusual circumstances during the lockdowns. Due to the long pandemic period, many individuals may feel vulnerable and unsure about their personal and financial state.
The regulatory body emphasised the importance of monitoring consumers as many may have started gambling during the pandemic and may not be able to adapt to the changes after the lockdown measures are lifted completely.