Brexit Will Affect the Gambling Industry on Both Sides of the Channel
February 18th, 2020 12.00pm
Well, Brexit has finally happened, and the big question is how much it will affect businesses and industries in both the UK and the rest of the EU.
Most important, at least for us, is the impact Brexit will have on the gambling industry – both land-based and online.
Gibraltar Could Lose a Big Portion of Its Revenue
A large number of casino operators are doing business in the UK, especially in Gibraltar. Gambling is very important for the economy of this overseas territory, as nearly 25% of the total revenue is made thanks to online gambling. Low taxes have brought numerous online and mobile casino operators to Gibraltar, allowing them to offer their services to customers on the Continent.
The lower costs the operators have enabled them to offer bigger bonuses and promotional offers to their players.
With the UK now officially out of the EU, casino operators based in Gibraltar could face serious problems. There is a possibility they will continue to offer their services to players from the EU, as negotiations are yet to take place.
Many Operators Will Move Their Business to the Continent
Another big issue for gambling operators is the fact all the businesses in the country will from now be regulated by the World Trade Organization (WTO). In practice, this means British operators could be excluded from any kind of bidding processes within the EU.
Some companies, like Bet365, have a solution to this problem. Although based in the UK for the last 20 years, Bet365 has a head office located in the EU, which will allow the company to keep all the privileges the EU reserves for local operators.
However, those operators whose headquarters are only in the UK, will need to move their operations to one of the 27 remaining EU members. Imagine the impact such a move would have on Gibraltar. There is room for changes, as the transitional period will be in effect until December 31, 2020. However, many operators wanted their businesses to remain stable, so they decided to leave the UK while the country was still in the EU. As a result of this, gambling revenue has been decreasing over the last couple of months.
Another factor that has forced casino operators to leave the UK is the implementation of the new regulations aimed at dealing with the problem of gambling addiction in the country. According to certain estimates, we can expect many more operators to move their businesses elsewhere in the coming period.
In case of Gibraltar, its lower tax rates could deter operators from leaving, as the taxes in the EU are much higher. In turn, this could motivate other countries in the EU to change local regulations.
Players Will Be Affected as Well
The situation could have a significant impact on players and their overall experience. Spending more on operations can lead to lower payouts and not so favourable odds. Online players and their potential prizes could be affected as well.
One thing is clear, though – the industry is yet to feel the full impact of Brexit. The transitional period will end on December 31, 2020, which suggests the effects won’t be visible by next year. In the meantime, operators can only hope the EU regulations will stay the same.
Negotiations between the UK and the EU started on February 1, which gives the two sides enough time to reach a deal that would be beneficial to all parties involved. Including the gambling industry. In the meantime, we can only wait and hope for the best.
With the UK now officially out of the EU, casino operators based in Gibraltar could face serious problems.