Yesterday, the Governments of the UK and Gibraltar inked an agreement under which the primacy of the Gibraltar Government, Parliament and competent authorities in the Brexit process is highlighted.
The agreement, called a Concordat, has been signed as a package of documents which are set to bring more clarity to the context in which the UK Withdrawal Agreement’s implementation has been concluded between the two governments. It was signed by Fabian Picardo, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar and David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and alleged de facto Deputy Prime Minister of the UK. The agreement was signed ahead of the Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit ad Gibraltar’s meeting, at which preparations for the March 29th withdrawal were made.
The meeting came as an update on the planning for a no deal Brexit both in the UK and Gibraltar.
Another productive meeting with Chief Minister of Gibraltar @FabianPicardo and his team today – discussing measures to deepen and enhance the valued ties between the UK and Gibraltar pic.twitter.com/QXYqvrAof4
— Robin Walker MP (@WalkerWorcester) January 24, 2019
A Gibraltar Government’s spokesperson described the Concordat as a document of great significance, especially considering the current political situation in the UK and the preparations made for its exit from the European Union. A Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the UK and Gibraltar’s gambling regulatory bodies was also signed by Mr Picardo and the UK Minister of Culture, Media and Sport Mims Davies.
— DCMS (@DCMS) January 24, 2019
The spokesperson also explained that a general discussion on the future arrangements related to the withdrawal took place as well.
Gibraltar’s Gambling Sector Could Face Serious Consequences from No Deal Brexit
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, Brexit would undoubtedly affect the 12 overseas jurisdictions which are currently under the control of the UK. As far as gambling is concerned, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man would probably be most affected by the country’s withdrawal from the EU, as both territories have become large gambling hubs over the past few years and have been chosen by many online gambling companies to host their operations due to their favourable regulatory and tax legislation.
Several months ago, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, shared an opinion that a withdrawal from the EU with no clear rules and agreements would not be in the best interest of either of the parties involved, including the UK, EU, Gibraltar or Spain.
There have been concerns whether Gibraltar would remain under the sovereignty of the UK after the Brexit is brought to an end. In October 2018, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed his country’s interest in the British overseas territory. Despite the large number of gambling industry workers who commute from Spain to “the Rock” on a daily basis, Gibraltar chose to remain part of the UK.
A “hard” Brexit, however, could seriously hurt the local gambling sector, as a no deal withdrawal would not only see the UK and its overseas territories leave the European Union, but they will also no longer be part of the single market and the customs union. In this case scenario, separate free-trade agreements regarding goods and service would have to be sought with the EU. Last year, two of the largest online gambling operators based in Gibraltar, 888 and bet365, revealed intentions to relocate some of their operations to Malta due to the consequences which Brexit would potentially have on their operations.