Nasdaq, Football Index partner to let sports gamblers buy 'shares' in soccer stars

U.K. sports betting platform Football Index will use Nasdaq technology to power a platform that allows consumers to place bets on the long-term performance of top soccer stars such as Lionel Messi, the two firms announced on Tuesday.

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The platform will resemble Nasdaq’s traditional stock exchange service, providing an interface through which bettors can buy or sell stakes in a player’s performance. The players' “shares” are tied to common measures of on-field success, such as goals scored or goal assists.

“Nasdaq is a legendary brand,” said Adam Cole, founder and CEO of Football Index. “We're very proud and excited to work with them to provide our order matching service, which is the powerhouse of any exchange. Football Index has come a very long way in a short period of time. Our relationship with Nasdaq is another major step in our journey to establish Football Index as a world-class exchange, worthy of the world's top footballers that are traded on it.”

Transactions on Football Index are tied to player performance over a three-year period, Cole told The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report on the partnership. Prices rise and fall based on performance and demand. Users can buy up to 300 shares in a player per transaction.

The partnership marks the first time that Nasdaq’s technology has powered a gambling service for the public, according to the Journal.

"Football Index will use our matching engine technology to provide their clients with a platform to revolutionize how fixed-odds betting operates,” said Paul McKeown, Nasdaq’s senior vice president and head of marketplace operators and new markets.

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The U.K’s heavily-regulated gambling industry generated $18 billion in revenue in the year prior to September 2019, according to the U.K. Gambling Commission. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal sports betting ban in May 2018, and several states have already legalized sports wagers in some form.