By blurring the lines between gambling and investment, the suspended company Football Index has left many in debt

“I know of people who have had to tell their partner they don’t have the deposit for their house move,” says David, who is helping to coordinate a support group for customers with money trapped in the failed betting platform Football Index but wishes to be known only by his first name. “People have had to cancel weddings because of it, there are others who’ll have to tell their partner that they have a £10,000 credit card bill that they can’t pay. The things I’ve heard over the last few weeks beggar belief, and there will be thousands more out there who are still suffering in silence.”

It is just over a fortnight since Football Index closed its self-styled “Football stock market”, a few hours before the Gambling Commission suspended the company’s licence. Launched in October 2015, Football Index offered its users the opportunity to buy what it described as “shares” in professional footballers, which would then earn “dividends” – from 1p to 14p per share – over a three-year period according to a structure, which it devised, based mainly on a player’s performances on the pitch.

Related: Football Index seeks buyer amid widespread customer fury

A factor in FI’s downfall may have been their customers were simply too good at playing the game

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