Administrators at the collapsed sports betting platform Football Index announced withdrawals of customer funds are about to begin.
Dispute with Payment Provider Resolved
The announcement from insolvency practitioner firm Begbies Traynor, appointed in late March to administer proceedings at the collapsed sports betting platform with elements of stock market trading, came just a day after the firm told platform customers a dispute with the payment processor, Index Labs, is delaying the repayment of funds.
“Further to our statement of yesterday, the joint administrators are pleased to confirm that the board of Index Labs has agreed to process the customer repayments.”Statement, Begbies Traynor
Begbies Traynor did not provide further details about the nature of the dispute and how it was resolved. However, according to tweets from Andrew Rhodes, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the regulator intervened to resolve the issue and enable the administrator company to initiate repayments.
Rhodes tweeted that the regulator was “aware of an issue” that prevented customers from withdrawing the funds from their e-wallets, and stayed in touch with all parties until a confirmation that the withdrawal process will begin was received.
Further, the UKGC “impressed upon both parties the need to make the interests of consumers a priority,” while ascertaining that money returned to customers from the platform will comprise solely of cash balances and will not include funds held in shares or dividend payments.
Begbies Traynor sent Football Index customers an email containing instructions on how to get their money back, outlining the final date of payable dividends, March 26, 2021, as agreed in the UK High Court order on June 8, 2021. The firm added that any dividend adjustments will appear in the transaction history of the player account.
The High Court decision followed a period of extensive deliberations between BetIndex, the operator of the collapsed platform, and joint administrators Begbies Traynor and the High Court of England and Wales. Last month, the court agreed to the final cut-off date for dividend payments.
Football Index and its parent company maintained an emergency fund called “Trust Deed monies” containing £4.5 million ($6.23M) at the time the company went into administration, and held by the Viscount of Jersey in June. As Football Index’s current liabilities towards its customers amount to £3.2 million ($4.43M), it leaves BetIndex with a surplus of £1.3 million ($1.8M).
Industry-Wide Ramifications of the Collapse
The collapse of the platform, which contributed to the change at the helm of the gambling regulator in the UK, also resulted in an independent inquiry launched by the Minister for Media and Data John Whittingdale in April to investigate the circumstances surrounding the demise of Football Index.
Last month, Malcolm Sheehan QC was appointed to lead the review that will investigate the actions of the regulator starting from September 2015 when BetIndex was granted its license from the UKGC.
There was no update regarding a possible date for exiting administration for the stripped off its gaming licenses and Betting and Gaming Council membership operator. Previously, BetIndex said it is targeting the start of the new 2021/22 soccer season for a re-launch of its restructured platform.