The UK Government has confirmed that it is launching an inquiry into the collapse of Football Index.
Last month, Football Index, a football-based trading website that allowed customers to purchase “shares” in football players and earn dividends based on their performance, fell into administration, with customers reporting huge losses.
A Times report from earlier this month claimed that the UK Government was looking into launching an investigation into the site’s collapse, and the UK Government has confirmed that it’s launching a review into the site’s fall.
According to reports, the government’s review will look into how the website collapsed and analyse the action taken by the UK Gambling Commission, which has been criticised for failing to intervene earlier.
The independent inquiry will examine the betting website from its September 2015 founding to its collapse last month and findings will be published in the summer, where they will be considered as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) review of the Gambling Act 2005.
John Whittingdale, the new Minister for Gambling And Lotteries, said in a statement: “We are now setting up an independent inquiry so that we can find out how this happened.
“We are determined to ensure that regulators have the right tools to protect customers and to deal with novel products. The gambling landscape is evolving rapidly and so we are also taking action by reviewing the Gambling Act to make sure our laws are fit for the digital age.”
Football Index, which is owned by BetIndex, lost its UK Gambling Commission operating license, had its membership from the Betting and Gaming Council revoked, and lost football sponsorships with clubs Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers.
What They Say
The UK Gambling Commission previously announced that it would be launching an investigation into BetIndex and has this week confirmed that it would be continuing its review as planned.
Responding to the Government’s announcement, a spokesperson for the UKGC said: “We strongly welcome the Government’s independent review into the regulation of Football Index and the focus it will bring on the way that those complex products, which to consumers can have the appearance of both gambling and financial characteristics, are currently regulated.”
The inquiry was also praised by the Betting and Gaming Council, which said in a statement: “Following the suspension of BetIndex Ltd’s operating license by the Gambling Commission last month, we immediately suspended their membership of the BGC.
“We have been concerned about reports that the Gambling Commission was made aware of issues surrounding Football Index’s business model as early as the start of 2020, something the BGC was not made aware of at the time.”
They added: “The top priority remains consumer welfare and we hope that the inquiry leads to vital lessons being learned for the future.”
Caesars Entertainment’s William Hill Acquisition Gets High Court Approval
Leading gambling operator William Hill has this week announced that Caesars Entertainment’s £2.9 billion takeover bid has been approved by a UK high court. William Hill agreed to Caesars Entertainment’s takeover back in September 2020 against a rival offer from Apollo Global, and the acquisition was set to close on April 1st.
However, investment management fund HBK Investments launched legal action, claiming that shareholders were not correctly informed of the deal. HBK’s objection delayed the scheme court hearing to approve the deal by three weeks.
The deal was approved this week by a High Court, and today (April 21) will be the last day of trading of William Hill shares. The shares will be de-listed and suspended before the market opens on April 22nd.
William Hill chairman Roger Devlin welcomed the news and issued a statement, saying: “The William Hill board is pleased that the court has confirmed the scheme of arrangement and the deal with Caesars will complete on April 22.
“Throughout this process, we have said that this deal provides shareholders with a cash price that fairly balances both the exciting opportunities and risks inherent in the business and delivery of its strategy.”
He added: “I would like to pay tribute to William Hill’s revitalised senior leadership team and all our employees. They have delivered on important parts of its longer-term growth strategy to realise the brand’s potential. The company is in excellent shape and looks forward to the future with confidence.”
Caesars Entertainment has confirmed that it’s looking to acquire William Hill’s US-facing betting business and technology as part of the acquisition and will be selling the bookmaker’s international’s assets.
Pragmatic Play Increases Drops & Wins Prize Pool To £1,000,000
Finally, Pragmatic Play, which recently announced a content deal with LuckyDays Casino, has announced today it’s increased its Drops & Wins prize pool to a whopping £1,000,000 across two verticals. The Drops & Wins promotion currently runs each month on slots, but between June 3rd and November 17th, it will run on both slots and live games.
The upgraded promotion will offer players a new jackpot prize of £500,000 each for a combined total of £1,000,000 a month. To allow for the new promotion, Pragmatic Play created a new promotions mechanic for its live games, allowing operators to run tournaments, prize drops, and more.
Yossi Barzely, the Chief Business Development Officer at Pragmatic Play, said in a statement: “Our Drops & Wins promotions have been incredibly well received by our fans all over the globe and we couldn’t be happier to give them even more reasons to celebrate with this massive promotion.
“Incorporating our live casino offering as well, Drops & Wins will have given players the chance to win a share of £7,000,000 in cash prizes by the end of November! We continue to look for new ways to enhance our fans’ experiences and are very excited for this promotion to kickstart on June 3rd.”