The UK has officially left the European Union (EU), with the transition period after Brexit set to come to an end on December 31st, 2020. Along with all changes it brings for the country, Brexit will also affect all businesses and organisations operating in the local gambling sector.
After the referendum in 2016 saw the citizens of the UK vote to leave the European Union, many gambling companies have been worried about what will happen to them and how they will be able to offer their services in the country and in the EU.
Hardly Any Changes Expected in UK Gambling’s Legislation, Regulation and Licensing Procedures after Brexit
Probably one of the best decisions that the UK has ever made is to keep its legislation, regulation and licensing procedures in terms of online gaming, casinos, sports betting, etc., away from the rest of the European Union.
Having this in mind, very little is likely to change in terms of the country’s regulation and licensing rules that should be followed by gambling companies in the UK after the country’s exodus from the EU. It is actually very likely for the differences between the gambling companies based in the UK and in the EU to become even bigger, which on the other hand, would probably make any interaction between UK gambling firms and EU gambling firms basically impossible.
The possible legislative and regulatory changes that could be brought to the local gambling sector after Brexit is not likely to have any major effects on local gamblers, or at least not in a way that they will notice. As a matter of fact, if the European Union decides to go stricter on the gambling sector and the US retains their current position on the industry, the UK could actually become one of the best locations for all forms of gambling on a global scale.
What Will Happen to Gibraltar’s Gambling Sector after Brexit?
When it comes to gambling, and more specifically online gambling, the Brexit decision only highlighted the importance of British Overseas Territories, especially the one of Gibraltar.
For years, Gibraltar has been a preferred location for the head offices of many gambling firms. Currently, many people in Gibraltar and professionally engaged in the gambling industry, with a solid number of workers who are qualified to work at the sector making it an easy decision for many gambling companies to have their headquarters there.
Another reason for Gibraltar to be among the most attractive gambling destinations in Europe and on a global scale is the favourable taxation rate, as gambling operators there pay much lower taxes in comparison to the ones paid in the UK, and, normally, they find it reasonable to avoid paying too much.
So, considering the fact that Gibraltar has been part of the UK and its population still votes in favour of remaining as such, Brexit will inevitably lead to several issues and changes, including in the local gambling sector.
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the Spanish Government could choose to end the free movement between the two countries. Such an agreement between Spain and Gibraltar is very important, because more than 50% of the people who work in the Rock’s gambling sector travel from Spain on a daily basis. If the free movement agreement between them is broken, many bookmakers could be forced to consider changing their headquarters’ location. Currently, many gambling operators are based in Gibraltar, including bet365, Betvictor, Boylesports, etc., and if they are forced to move office locations elsewhere, this could be a massive blow on the local economy.
For the time being, it is still hard to predict whether Brexit would lead to any change in the gambling industry’s tax rates. According to experts, there could be a reason for the local Government to increase the taxation rate depending on Spain’s position regarding the free movement issue.
In any case, if gambling operators are forced to move their head offices, gamblers are also likely to face some changes, too.
UK Gambling Sector Would Be More Affected Than Brexit Than UK Gamblers
Could Brexit have a more general impact on other countries that are currently members of the European Union? According to experts, it could. If a country with the strong economy and influence of the UK can exit the EU and be successful on its own, then other countries could follow suit and do the same.
If this happens, each country that leaves the EU is likely to have their own legislation, regulation and licensing procedures in terms of gambling. Such a step is unlikely to have a serious impact on British players. However, the coordination between gambling firms in different countries would be harder. Furthermore, such a step means only national gambling operators will be available to local users but that should not be that much of an issue as there are also quite a few companies already operating in the UK.
It is quite difficult to predict the exact result of Brexit on the gambling industry of the UK. For now, it seems that Gibraltar would be most affected by the change because many companies could potentially leave, and the British Overseas Territory just would not be so effective for gambling companies to have their business run from there.
On the other hand, regular gamblers would not probably see massive changes for them in the shorter term, as licensing and regulation have been pretty much particular in the UK even while it had been part of the European Union.