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Regulation of BetIndex Ltd: Update on Review

Volume 696: debated on Monday 7 June 2021

Further to the statement of 20 April outlining plans for an independent expert review of the regulation of the Football Index gambling product, we are today announcing the full terms of reference for the review and further details.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere (Oliver Dowden) has appointed Malcolm Sheehan QC to lead the review. He will provide an independent expert account of the actions taken by the Gambling Commission and other relevant regulatory bodies, and consider the lessons to be learnt for the future. He will have access to all the necessary information held by Government and regulatory bodies to conduct the review.

As outlined in the terms of reference which we have also released in full on www.gov.uk, the review will cover the period from the granting of BetIndex’s gambling licence in September 2015 to the Gambling Commission’s suspension of that licence on 11 March this year. It will principally report on the actions of the Gambling Commission in assessing, licensing, and monitoring the operator, responding to concerns and delivering its objectives. The review will also consider how the Financial Conduct Authority responded to questions from the Gambling Commission and how it considered whether the product amounted to a regulated activity under the Financial Services and Markets Act.

It is important that former customers continue to have a voice. The Administrators should have already contacted every former customer so they can submit a claim if they think they are owed money or compensation from the company. Customers will be kept informed through the administration process, including on any opportunities they may have to vote on next steps. The Gambling Commission will also continue to consider information it receives from individuals about the actions of Football Index where it pertains to its ongoing regulatory investigation into BetIndex’s licence. While the Call for Evidence closed on 31 March, former customers can also continue to provide information to DCMS about the Football Index case to inform the Gambling Act review. Hundreds of individuals have already done so, and where relevant to the Terms of Reference for the independent review we will pass those to Malcolm Sheehan QC.

This independent review is expected to provide a report for publication in the summer, and will include recommendations as needed across the full range of questions set out in the terms of reference. Its findings will form part of the evidence informing the Government’s ongoing review of the Gambling Act 2005, which was announced in December 2020. This independent review is entirely separate from the Gambling Commission’s ongoing regulatory investigation and the administration proceedings, and will be done in such a way as to avoid prejudicing either of those processes. A copy of the terms of reference will be placed in the Library of the House.

[HCWS63]