With a fourth vote looming over Brexit UK businesses are still holding their breath over the possible exit from the European Union and perhaps one above all has a great deal to lose and that is the gaming industry. Of course, almost every industry has been affected in some way by the uncertainties the UK now finds itself in, but some businesses have definitely been hit or are set to be hit more than others.
In fact, online gambling makes up a big part of the British economy with almost half of the population enjoying a bet or wager in one way or another whether that is playing games like Rainbow Riches online slots, having a go on the national lottery or one of the many other lotto chances, or playing a game of bingo at the local bingo hall – the simple fact is the British like a gamble.
With strict gambling and gaming regulations that are often different from other EU territories the UK remains the base for many of the world’s largest gaming companies – this could change if the UK leaves he EU and Europe decides to lessen the rules for its members yet toughen them for other countries which would mean that UK online gambling sites would end up paying higher fees to operate in Europe.
If we look back to 2014 when the UK had a change in their gaming taxes, there were some companies that actually left Britain to operate their businesses in other areas – luckily the majority of companies remained but it is very uncertain whether more will leave if and when the UK quits the European Union.
The current free movement the United Kingdom enjoys within the EU has made it possible for online gambling businesses to make their bases in tax havens like Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.
The British territory of Gibraltar gets at least 25% of its annual tax revenue from online gaming with many of the big players operating from outside of the Rock. Gibraltarians consistently vote to remain with the UK but also, they voted to remain in the EU and understandably so as they border Spain with many people moving freely every day in both directions.
With over three thousand people being employed by the gambling industry in Gibraltar and around eighteen hundred of them living in Spain if the UK does leave the EU the problems caused by this exit would be multiple.
Jobs would be lost and border controls tightened to suck an extent that the big online gambling operators might just up roots and move to a more convivial environment like Malta which is already the first choice for many gaming companies these days.