UK High Court Orders Football Index to Pay £3.2m to Customers Impacted by Collapse

  • Football Index must pay out £3.2m ($4.5m) of a £4.5m ($6.4m) player protection fund
  • The judge agreed with Begbies Traynor that the administration began on March 26
  • Customers will lose out on investments held during the collapse, costing some thousands
  • Malcolm Sheehan QC will lead an independent review into BetIndex and the UKGC
Wooden gavel with coins
Football Index customers will receive e-wallet reimbursements after a court ordered the soccer betting company to pay £3.2m ($4.5m) to users affected by its collapse. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The court gives its verdict

A UK High Court has provided some relief for gamblers impacted by the collapse of soccer betting company Football Index. As per a new court order, the operator must reimburse some of its customers with funds totaling £3.2m ($4.5m).

Administrator Begbies Traynor LLP applied to the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales earlier this year on behalf of Football Index parent company BetIndex. The rescue and recovery specialists hoped to determine how Football Index should distribute money from its player protection account.

Football Index released a statement on Tuesday confirming that the court had given its ruling. It took to Twitter to publicize the announcement:

Although the player protection account contains £4.5m ($6.4m) in total, the court ordered Football Index to pay just £3.2m ($4.5m) to customers. The judge agreed with Begbies Traynor that the administration began on March 26. This means affected users will only receive the funds from their e-wallets up to this date. 

Not all will receive funds

Jersey-based soccer betting site Football Index allowed its users to purchase stocks in professional players, earning dividend payments depending on that player’s performance or notoriety. The company collapsed in March after it dramatically slashed dividend payouts, destroying customer account values.

At least five of these large portfolios had upwards of £50,000 ($70,857) invested

Although the court has now ordered Football Index to provide e-wallet reimbursements, those with portfolio investments will still lose out. Around 34% of customers had small portfolios at the time of the collapse, 9% had medium portfolios, and 4% had large ones. At least five of these large portfolios had upwards of £50,000 ($70,857) invested in the website.

Meanwhile, Football Index confirmed that 159,075 of its customers had an e-wallet balance when the company entered administration. These users qualify for reimbursement and will receive their share of the £3.2m ($4.5m) fund.

According to the Football Index press release, it will take a little more time for these customers to receive their money. Begbies Traynor must first approach the Jersey court to have the ruling accepted before transferring the funds into user accounts. Football Index predicts this process will take five to eight working days, followed by another two to ten days for customer withdrawals.

The investigation continues

With the collapse potentially costing gamblers up to £90m ($125.3m), British MPs have called for an investigation into BetIndex and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

The UK government on Monday announced the appointment of Malcolm Sheehan QC to lead an independent review into the collapse. According to an official statement, Sheehan is “experienced in commercial and common law practice, with a particular focus on product liability and group actions, as well as public and regulatory law.”

Sheehan intends to investigate the role of the UKGC

The review will cover the period from the granting of BetIndex’s license in September 2015 until its suspension this year. Sheehan intends to investigate the role of the UKGC in monitoring and regulating the operator, in addition to actions taken by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Sheehan will provide his findings this summer. The government said the investigation will feed into the ongoing Gambling Act review.

The UK Government is currently reviewing the market’s gaming regulation, otherwise known as the Gambling Act 2005. A number of measures are under consideration, including a ban on gambling sponsorship in sports and limits to betting stakes. Officials recently confirmed that any changes might not go into effect until 2022.