Last week, the UK Government guaranteed that it would grant Gibraltar with a continued access to the country’s market for online gaming and financial services. The disclosure was made at a time when the possible effects of impending BREXIT have been widely discussed, amid increasing concerns that Gibraltar’s economy could be affected by the UK exodus from the European Union (EU).
The minister of state at the Department for Exiting the EU, Robin Walker, shared that the two parties agreed that the access of Gibraltar to the UK market is to remain at it current state at least until 2020 in order to provide them with more time to forge a new and more modern agreement and to meet the high standards of regulation and enforcement.
As reported by The Gibraltar Chronicle, other matters were agreed on as well. The British citizens residing in Gibraltar were assured by the UK Government they would be allowed to access UK universities, as they are allowed to do now. Health services arrangements between the two parties are also to be maintained to their current state, while the UK and Gibraltar agreed to enhance their cooperation on environmental and fisheries matters.
Thanks to the latest agreement inked between the two parties, the online gambling operators based in Gibraltar could rest assured they would be given continues and undisturbed access to the UK market for at least two more years. Under the deal, a replacement framework that is set to serve as a business and commercial guidance at the time when the UK finalises its exodus from the EU would be forged by the UK and Gibraltar.
Fabian Picardo, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, explained that the parties wanted to make sure that the existing regulatory standards would be kept intact in order to provide qualitative customer protection and equivalence in the sector.
UK Government’s Agreement to Give Confidence
According to experts, the agreement is to give some confidence to the Gibraltar market, which is currently home to over 30 iGaming operators. The British Overseas Territory has become a preferred destination to host online gambling companies thanks to its lower corporate taxes and full European Union membership. For the time being, iGaming is the local economy’s sector which ensures the largest number of jobs, with more than 5,000 people currently employed.
In a way, some aspects of the Gibraltar’s economy have been dependent from the UK, especially in terms of gambling. A few months ago, the looming UK Government’s review on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) raised some concerns that it could negatively affect the gambling industry in Gibraltar.
The UK authorities have been having consultations whether or not to reduce the existing £100 maximum stake allowed at the machines to £2. At the beginning of November 2017, a UK Government’s spokesperson revealed that the country’s arrangements with Gibraltar were being constantly monitored. At the time, it also became clear that the UK Government does not believe that Gibraltar has actually faced any issues related to the notorious FOBTs, which have been blamed for some serious problems in the British gambling industry.
The latest details about the UK and the British Overseas Territory agreements have once again confirmed that Gibraltar’s economy would hardly be affected by BREXIT, or at least for the time being. Mr. Walker, explained that the agreement for the continued access of Gibraltar to the UK market was primarily aimed at keeping the attractiveness of local companies, and especially the online gambling operators.