On the 1st of January 2021, Brexit finally arrived, and for many industries and employees, it has meant a huge leap into the unknown. It’s time to forget the narratives that have bombarded us for the past several years from both the Leave and Remain camps, now is the moment of truth.
The gambling industry, in particular, is paying special attention to the new landscape. The number of online casinos in the UK has risen year-on-year for more than a decade as operators looked to pinch a share of this highly lucrative market. Will there be any major changes for players or the companies involved in this sector? Here’s what we think …
The online gambling industry in Britain is under the control of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). It’s the Commission that issues licences to operators and sets the regulations for them to follow. Online casinos that are not licenced cannot market their products upon these shores, and in many instances, they won’t accept players from the UK.
Alongside the UKGC is the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority). This is another governing authority for online casinos. However, even though Malta is a country in the European Union, it doesn’t carry any weight in the UK. Gibraltar deserves a mention too, as this is another hotspot for gambling companies due to its favourable tax laws. Of course, this is still a British territory, but more on that later.
The bottomline is that the UK has a thriving industry that is well regulated within the country. It has never been under EU control, so not too much will change on the surface. A potential concern for gambling bosses is the British economy. It relies on bettors having a few quid in their pocket at the end of the week to have a little flutter. If costs of EU goods rise or there are other financial repercussions from Brexit, the online gambling market might start to shrink.
Back to the Rock
Several of the UK’s biggest gambling companies have set up bases in Gibraltar in the last 10 to 15 years. This British Overseas Territory, which is located at the bottom of Spain, may suffer more than most from the UK’s decision to divorce from the EU. The gambling industry and other related activities employ several thousand people in this region.
However, quite a few employees actually reside in mainland Spain, and it’s currently unknown if future travel restrictions will be imposed as the Rock left the EU by default of being under UK control.
Will players be affected?
We cannot see too much impact from a player’s perspective. If the UK does indeed flourish in the forthcoming post-Brexit years, even more operators will be eager to set up shop here. Whilst not a Brexit issue, the possible major changes that UK players can expect is from their own Gambling Commission’s regulation overview. Credit cards were banned in 2020, so we’re eager to see if further restrictions are imposed on players and operators.