Gibraltar is trying to stop gambling companies from relocating to Malta after BREXIT. The British Overseas Territory, which has long been an attractive destination for gambling operators due to its favourable gambling legislation, could soon face some negative consequences due to UK’s exit from the European Union (EU).
Some concerns were raised at the time when bet365 and 888, which are currently two of the largest online gambling companies based in Gibraltar, announced their intentions to relocate some (or even most) of their operations to Malta because of BREXIT. However, Spain has reassured Gibraltar that the situation for the local gambling sector would not face any drastic changes.
Under the provisions of a political agreement inked between Gibraltar and Spain, the existing status quo will remain pretty much the same between the two parties, as long as an agreement in terms of the BREXIT and the expected transition period is reached between the UK and the EU. The provisional agreement between the parties is aimed at providing assurance regarding the status of the employees who travel between Spain and Gibraltar on a daily basis to work in the gambling sector of the British Overseas Territory.
For the time being, there are about 14,000 such workers.
Gibraltar Gets Spain’s Support for Local Gambling Sector’s Future
Last week, Gibraltar got the support of Spain on the issue, which has been causing some concern to the authorities, as the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez explained that it was also in his country’s interest for the situation to remain the same.
Speaking at a London-based event aimed at attracting further investors to the territory, Fabian Picardo, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, explained that a BREXIT with no clear rules and agreements would not be in anyone’s favour, including the EU, the UK, Gibraltar or Spain. Mr. Picardo shared that “common sense has prevailed” in terms of gambling, and confirmed that the two parties largely agreed on Customs, police and environmental matters.
As mentioned above, the announcement of two of the biggest online gambling companies that they would probably move a lot of their operations to Malta caused a lot of concern for Gibraltar’s gambling sector. Earlier in 2018, media reports revealed that bet65 had made a decision to move large parts of its operations to Malta, so it has acquired a massive still-to-be constructed office space situated in Tigné, Sliema. The company, which is one of the largest gambling operators on a global scale, explained at the time that it still plans to keep a presence in Gibraltar.
For the time being, Malta is also considered a highly-attractive location for operators offering gambling services thanks to its favourable tax regime. Since BREXIT was announced, Malta has been seen as the main beneficiary in terms of the gambling industry.
Still, Gibraltar is not ready to give up without a fight. The British Overseas Territory has been trying to reassure gambling companies that they will still be able to offer their services under the same conditions even after BREXIT.