BetIndex Annual Audited Accounts
I would like to make the following Freedom of Information request:
(1) Does the Gambling Commission hold in its possession annual audited accounts for the company Bet Index Limited trading as Football Index.
(2) If the answer to question (1) is YES, please state for which financial years.
(3) Please provide a copy of the latest set of annual audited accounts held by the Gambling Commission for Bet Index Limited trading as Football Index.
Thank you for your request which has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
In your email you have enquired as to the following:
- Does the Gambling Commission hold in its possession annual audited accounts for the company Bet Index Limited trading as Football Index.
- If the answer to question (1) is YES, please state for which financial years.
- Please provide a copy of the latest set of annual audited accounts held by the Gambling Commission for Bet Index Limited trading as Football Index.
Following a search of our records, I can confirm that the Gambling Commission does not hold copies of any of Betindex Limited’s audited accounts.
However, I can confirm that we do hold BetIndex Limited’s unaudited financial statements for the two years ended 31 December 2018 and note they are not currently within the public domain.
The Commission is a regulatory body with licensing, compliance and enforcement functions. Through our regulatory activity, the Commission aims to protect consumers and the wider public, and to raise standards in the gambling industry. The Commission seeks to ensure, through its ongoing compliance work, that licensees remain suitable to hold a licence and that they conduct themselves in a way which is consistent with the licensing objectives, the requirements of the Act, and the conditions of their licences and related codes of practice.
We release details of our enforcement activity through public statements which can be found on our website. The public statements will detail the nature of the failings by the operator and the amount of the fine or settlement. Further to this, the Commission also publishes a list of recent regulatory sanctions we have imposed on licence holders.
list of recent regulatory sanctions we have imposed on licence holders.
When we publish these statements and sanctions, we take care to present as much information as possible to ensure that lessons can be learned by operators. However, we must also be careful not to reveal any information that could hinder our ability to conduct investigations or enable those we may investigate to avoid detection.
We encourage licensees to be as thorough and as detailed as possible when communicating and we expect Licensees to work with us in an open and cooperative way and to inform us of anything we might need to be aware of in order to regulate effectively. They would not do this if they believed that the information, they provided to us would be released and as a result, the quality of the information we receive would suffer. For these reasons the Commission does not ordinarily publish further details of information generated during investigations.
Whilst I am able to confirm that we do not hold the specific information that you have requested, the Commission is of the view that any financial information that we do hold in relation to Bet Index, not otherwise in the public domain, is exempt from disclosure under section 31(g) FOIA and therefore will not be released.
For further explanation of this exemption please see the attached document.
Explanation of the exemption – Section 31
The information that you have requested is exempt from disclosure in under section 31(1)(g) with section 31(2)(a-d) of the FOIA.
31(1) provides that Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice - (g) the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2) (2)
The purposes referred to in subsection (1)(g) to (i) are:
- a. the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply with the law
- b. the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is responsible for any conduct which is improper
- c. the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise
- d. the purpose of ascertaining a person’s fitness or competence in relation to the management of bodies corporate or in relation to any profession or other activity which he is, or seeks to become, authorised to carry on.
The Public Interest Test
Having acknowledged that the requested information is exempt under section 31 it is necessary that I consider a public interest test to identify whether there is a wider public interest in disclosing this information as opposed to maintaining the exemption.
In favour of disclosure
- disclosure of the requested information could demonstrate to stakeholders and relevant parties that the Commission is active in investigating. Furthermore, this disclosure may encourage stakeholders to work with us and contribute to our programme of work
- there is a legitimate public interest in promoting accountability and transparency of public authorities
- public disclosure of this information may also, by way of demonstrating our proactive work in this area, discourage unlawful activities being pursued
- further to this, increasing confidence in the Commission as a regulator and its ability to uphold the law.
In favour of maintaining the exemption
- disclosure of the requested information may prejudice the outcome of this and or any future investigation by the Commission, or another body by exposing investigative techniques and practices to the detriment of the public interest
- providing information which makes specific individuals or events identifiable may deter stakeholders or other sources of information and from sharing important information with us or other law enforcement agencies
- further to this, providing information which makes specific individuals or events identifiable could alert individuals involved to the fact that the Commission was investigating a particular case and provide them with an opportunity to alter their behaviours and evade detection
- once/if a formal regulatory decision has been made or the agreement of a regulatory settlement the Commission will ordinarily publish all such decisions in full.
Weighing the Balance
Having considered the previous points, the Commission is of the view that the balance of the public interest lies with maintaining the exemption. The Commission acknowledges that there is a public interest in promoting the accountability and transparency of public authorities and the importance of having sufficient information in the public domain to support consumers with their choice of operator.
However, disclosure of the information would be damaging to the Commission as a regulatory body which ultimately serves to protect the wider public interest.
Review of the decision
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email.
Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.
If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission.
The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Information Management Team
Victoria Square House
Birmingham B2 4BP
Request for Internal Review
Thank you for responding to my FOI request. Unfortunately, the response is not satisfactory and so I am requesting an internal review.
I disagree with your reliance on section 31 of the FOIA. You have not carried out the prejudice test and demonstrated that the claimed prejudice is real, actual or of substance or the link between disclosure and harm in the circumstances of this case. The specific circumstances of this case include the fact the company has financially collapsed into administration.
I disagree with your assessment of the public interest (“the public interest test”). You have carried out a generic ‘cut and paste’ public interest test that does not consider the specific circumstances of this case. I believe the public interest favours disclosure. The specific circumstances of this case include that many thousands of customers have lost thousands of pounds of their money due the financial collapse of this organisation. The Gambling Commission was the regulatory body.
Internal Review Response
Further to your Freedom of Information request dated 16/03/21 which we responded to on 15/04/21, and your subsequent request for an internal review received on15/04/21, we have now concluded our review and our findings are detailed below. This internal review was conducted by someone who was not involved in the processing of your original request and was of a more senior position.
Your request was for the following information:
- does the Gambling Commission hold in its possession annual audited accounts for the company Bet Index Limited trading as Football Index
- if the answer to question (1) is YES, please state for which financial years
- please provide a copy of the latest set of annual audited accounts held by the Gambling Commission for Bet Index Limited trading as Football Index.
In our response we advised you that we did not hold annual audited accounts for Bet Index Limited.
Having reviewed your request and our response I can confirm that we do not hold the information that you have requested relating to the annual audited accounts for Bet Index.
In our response, to be helpful, we advised you that we did hold unaudited financial statements for the two years ended 31 December 2018, however, it was our view that this information was exempt under S31(g) – Law Enforcement with Section 2(a-d). As you did not ask for this information in your request and have since submitted a request for this specific information on 15/04/2021, it is our view that the application of any exemptions to this information will be considered when processing your new request.